Discrimination takes centre stage

A university is using the power of theatre to highlight workplace diversity
issues for its senior and middle managers.

The University of Reading hopes that drama-based training will bring
diversity issues to life by treating subjects such as equal opportunities in a
more interactive and engaging way.

The one-hour sessions feature scenarios on race, disability and gender discrimination,
with a range of further reading distributed after the performance.

Trained actors use a technique called ‘forum theatre’, in which they
re-create different situations involving discrimination, while asking the
audience for ways to resolve the conflict.

The actors will then take up an audience member’s suggestion and follow the
scenario through to demonstrate what would actually happen in the workplace.

Justin Hutchence, project officer at the university, said that by using this
method, the organisation will be able to deliver a whole range of training in a
relatively short space of time.

"One of the key benefits is that people feel confident about saying
what they really think, and that level of honesty is positive and
refreshing," he said.

"It’s such an enjoyable form of training and the role-playing really
provokes dialogue."

More than 900 senior and middle managers will be involved in the scheme,
which will be delivered by the Steps consultancy over a six-month period.

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