Experience

a refreshing and creative way to help people
understand each other better across ideological differences.

Menu of offerings 

Format:

  • Events are typically 75-90 minutes long
  • Choice of online or outdoors in person
  • Performances
  • Dialogue skills workshops (can be combined with performances)

Audience size:

  • Personal:  for 2-10 people who have ongoing relationships (e.g., family members, co-workers, friends)
  • Group:  ideal size is 20-50 people (e.g., a faith-based group, a town commission); possible range 10-200

Audience types:

  • Unified: for people who share fairly similar political viewpoints (e.g., “blue-leaning” or “red-leaning”)
  • Divergent:  for people wishing to connect across one or more ideological divides

Sample event goals:

  • To help participants prepare for gatherings (such as family reunions) where divergent views arise, to be able to deal with them more constructively
  • To help co-workers with divergent views understand each other and work better together
  • To strengthen organizations that are working on depolarizing their communities or country
  • To help dialogue facilitators learn new creative skills for putting themselves in others’ shoes

Material covered in workshops:

  • Inner depolarization: reducing our own reactiveness to others we know
  • Learn to listen to what’s important to others (including what wasn’t said)
  • Explore the moral foundations that underlie people’s political beliefs
  • Learn how to build bridges of trust and understanding
  • Learn how to better communicate what is important to you and why

We’ve been told by those appreciating our theatre

Actions can speak louder than words.
Actors can make people’s experiences come alive to be more fully understood.

Examples of a few groups we have worked with:

  • Brandeis University, Jewish and Palestinian Israeli students
  • Braver Angels retreat
  • New England Center and Home for Veterans
  • Vineyard Church, for people in the neighborhood

W
hen I first heard that True Story Theater would enact our personal stories at the Braver Angels New England Retreat, I was skeptical. I was reluctant to share anything personal because I was worried they would get it wrong. Being misunderstood is awful enough when it’s only with one person in a conversation.  When I imagined being misunderstood and then mis-portrayed theatrically to my peers, it was more than I was willing to risk. 
 
However, as I watched others share their experiences, felt surprised and reassured by how carefully the talented performers listened and how accurately they embodied the essential parts of each story that was shared. I saw that each speaker was given full respect and freedom in what they shared, and that everyone in the room found something meaningful to relate to from each enactment.
 
I’ve observed that people often have trouble speaking what they really feel–either because they don’t know how to put their feelings into words, or because they don’t want to have those feelings, or they fear they will likely be told that they are not supposed to feel that way.  I saw True Story Theater’s work skillfully address each of these hesitancies, showing sensitivity to the context and emotional landscape of each story.  
 
I am glad that I was able to experience True Story Theater’s work and I recommend it to others–even to those who might initially be skeptical as I was.
 
Jenny Maxwell, who defines herself as a heterodox thinker who leans conservative politically, and part of the leadership team for Braver Angels in New England.  Braver Angels offers resources nationally to help bridge political differences.

For more information

or to explore having a performance or workshop

please contact: Anne[at]PlaybackNorthAmerica.com