Out of the Box Theatre Workshop is a script writing workshop for the facilitation of discourse around a community challenge. It has application for local, regional and national organisations and issues of all kinds.
Supported by a RADF (Qld Regional Arts Development Fund) grant, the creative team developed the writing framework which became Out-of-the-Box Theatre workshop by exploring the community conversation around RISK.
The initial Out of the Box theatre Workshop looked at three aspects of Risk in the community:
The script research and writing process led to a rough script called "Seven Rotations of Risk". Experienced actors further workshopped this product into a single short performance, Risk, exploring the perceptions of risk in a nuclear family, around the aspirations of a teenager.
Out of the Box theatre workshops support the development of a new, desegregating form of theatre that aspires to see pathways to conflict resolution and unity.
Out of the Box Theatre presumes that we ARE in life as if contained by boundaries built from our history. Yet, we can imagine our way out of of our own boundaries by taking on the role of others, even who may seem greatly different to us. The workshop asks participants to take a detached yet empathetic view of an issue of their choosing, through the eyes of a number of characters that have a stake in that issue. By exploring characters with diverse views and actions around an issue, participants look at a range of possibilities in the choices of a character who is at a crossroads of engagement. The participants play with the constructing of expected and unexpected choices as communication approaches and strategic action around an issue.
An Out of the Box Theatre workshop uses a play floor that can be drawn upon; and other common props and costuming, to provide a flexible and ready structuring of theatre. Participants are guided from issue to script development in a challenge to seek new and realistic possibilities for the engagement of protagonists.
Out of the Box Theatre Workshops demands and facilitates a high level of empathy; asserts the displaying of various perspectives on a social issue; draws out those hidden stories within an individual's and the cultural background, bringing them out of the box for a look at by all participants. By looking at the constraints of external agents (characters and antagonists), participants are challenged to look at their own constraints. By looking at various pathways that multiple agents might follow in their interaction within a storyline, new pathways of engagement are sought. Although imaginitive, realistic explorations underpinned by challenging questioning of perspective, undermines cliches of dualist personalities in story, and, rather than happy ever after resolutions, real possibilities are sought.
Out of the Box Theatre Workshops support the view of the long game. While it is expected that participants will feel increased empathy for all types of characters, attitudes, behaviours, and thereby find insight into strategies for ongoing endeavour towards peaceful resolutions of social challenges, nonetheless participants are also allowed to explore the real life possibility that antagonists will disengage. Likewise, while working with a limited character set, the participants to longer workshops will get insight into the complexities and diversity of behaviours to deal with in any social discourse.