Click below (on any box that interests you) to learn about how we might help your organization:
Deal with tensions
True Story Theater can help your organization deal with tensions such as:
- Changes of leadership
- New organizational structures or methods
- Times of organizational stress
Client story – a difficult departure: A minister brought True Story into his congregation after he announced he would be leaving his post on very short notice. Our 90-minute performance created a safe container for congregants to express widely divergent responses, from anger to great love, and to move on with a sense of acceptance and unity.
Client story – merging departments: A consultant engaged True Story Theater to enliven her third day of working with faculty on the difficult merging of two departments at a university. True Story helped the consultants’ findings and recommendations come alive and let the participants engage in a visceral way with their new challenges and possibilities .
True Story Theater helped our faculty to resolve conflicts related to leadership transition and tensions of our multicultural organization. In three sessions we were able to move into more constructive dialogue and new alliances. The result is the work of our School is now more productive, effective, and fun.
– Associate Dean, Simmons School of Social Work, Carol Bonner
True Story Theater can help your organization address issues of diversity such as:
- Differences in identity (e.g.race, class, gender…)
- Differences in role, function, or power (e.g. professional vs. support staff)
Client story – across a divide : True Story Theater’s performance at Brandeis University enabled Jewish and Palestinian Israeli students to share their experiences and better hear each other across a painful divide.
Client story – growing appreciation: At a conference for 140 religious educators and researchers (mostly Christian, Jewish, and Muslim professors), True Story Theater helped participants explore conflicts in cross cultural interactions, to become more conscious of cultural biases and appreciate the cultural backgrounds of others.
Client story – discovering commonalities: The exhausted staff at a school for developmentally disabled children engaged True Story Theater for an afternoon event. All levels of staff — from teachers to janitors to administrators — were able to laugh together about their challenges and to celebrate the joys and extreme difficulties of their common work.
As a Palestinian in the US, I often feel alone and afraid of prejudice at social events. So I keep my identity hidden. After True Story Theater played back my experience at a conference, I felt so encouraged that I reached out to an Israeli conference participant and we made a genuine, positive connection. It was a breakthrough for me! Without that Playback experience, I would have avoided him and certainly wouldn’t have revealed my ethnicity. – R. Khouri
Train your group in Bystander Intervention
True Story Theater can help your group to be better prepared to act in solidarity with people who are vulnerable: to step in to support people targeted by bigotry and to welcome people on the margins in your community. Workshops include dramatically exploring what makes it hard to intervene in challenging situations, useful information (short presentations and handouts) for you to take with you, and role plays.
Client story: At the Rochester Institute of Technology, True Story led a series of events for faculty and department chairs on how to support women and people of color entering into science and technology.
Client story: True Story trained HR professionals on how to address everyday bigotry in the workplace.
Client story: True Story has worked with the Diversity Task Group and Human Rights Commission for the Town of Arlington, MA on a series of Bystander/Upstander trainings as well as public showcases on Stories of Stigma.
I highly recommend their training to anyone who wants to explore what it takes to respond to injustice in our world.
Celebrate a landmark
True Story Theater can help your organization celebrate important landmarks such as:
- Achieving goals
- Organizational anniversaries
- Staff transitions (e.g. retirement of key individuals)
Client story – across departments: By bringing True Story Theater into their annual retreat, the diverse employees of a socially responsible investment company were able to laugh together and celebrate each departments’ victories for the year.
Client story – across generations: A True Story performance at a church’s 150th anniversary enabled both elderly and young congregants to vividly exchange key moments from the church’s long history.
I admit I was skeptical when True Story Theatre first proposed performing for my retirement party — which was also the organization’s annual meeting, attended by a hundred important stakeholders. But six years later, I still get rave comments from One Percent Club members I run into. True Story made the celebration delightful and memorable.
– Joe Selvaggio, Retired ED of the One Percent Club of Minnesota
Enhance a training or conference
True Story Theater can enhance your organizations training or conferences:
- Make conferences come alive
- Deepen retreats
- Complement panels or power-point presentations
Client story – way better than power point: At a training about sexual orientation discrimination laws, a group of 60 federal employees sat through a power point for the first hour. Then True Story helped their learning become deep and memorable as participants shared personal experiences on the topic and had their stories honored through theatre.
Client story – impacting decision-makers: At a university-based conference on social policy and extreme poverty, True Story Theater acted out responses to stories from survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The dramatizations made a powerful impact on the future policy-makers in attendance — far more than words alone could have done.
I am an appointed member of the Arlington Disability Commission. As a team we had been discussing how to improve our ability to work together and have a consensus regarding mission and goals. As such we had the good fortune of having the True Story Theatre working with us this past week. To say that I was impressed is an understatement! The group facilitated a poignant, well organized approach that helped us as a group form a common understanding of the gifts & strengths of each member, our contributions and most importantly our perspective of each other. I can honestly say that as a former special education administrator who has been to training and workshops for the past thirty eight years, this was by far the best one I have every attended. They successfully get to the core needs and vision of each participant and strengthen the group as a whole.
-Cynthia DeAngelis, Arlington Disability Commission
I brought in True Story Theater for an in-service training for Human Resources professionals from 50 organizations. True Story Theater brought alive the skills of how to intervene effectively to prevent harm in workplaces, including in volatile situations of racial, religious, gender or other prejudice — far more effective than any lecture!
– Maureen Scully, Interim Dean of the College of Management at U.Mass. Boston
From the Arlington.wickedlocal.com, 07/03/14, about the Arlington Elder Abuse Forum at Town Hall: Arlington Police Captain Richard Flynn believed the event and the theatrical reenactments by True Story Theater would help seniors see the threats to elders more clearly. “I loved it. You can read a story, but when you have actors put it into real-life situations, it really brings it home.”
Explore difficult issues
True Story Theater can help your organization explore difficult issues such as:
- Different levels of power and influence
- Mixed reactions to new policies
Client story – embracing hot topics: True Story Theater was brought into a series of public discussions held in a well-to-do suburban town to explore the touchy issues of inclusion and exclusion (e.g. affordable housing, civic participation, and discrimination). Instead of only hearing from experts and town officials, True Story enabled ordinary town members to speak from their hearts have their experiences powerfully witnessed.
Client story – exploring differences: A well-established social service organization was working on creating organization-wide understanding of “mutuality” — a key value in all their practices. Previous discussions had been contentious. True Story helped 40 staff members explore their differences with respect and vulnerability.
True Story Theater performed three true stories of elder abuse at Town Hall. Many of us have heard such stories, but it is different emotionally to see them enacted. It was extraordinarily powerful..stellar! I can’t wait to show the video to other towns…
-Susan Carp, Executive Director of the Arlington Council on Aging
True Story Theater enabled us to take on issues in a new way. It was far more powerful than just talking about them at meetings — and much safer. Phenomenally helpful.
– a staff member of Project Hope
The veterans really feel that TS captures their feelings “spot on,” even the feelings that the storytellers do not articulate verbally. Veterans felt that they were able to be creative and expressive in new ways, and make light of subjects that are normally difficult to talk about, by expressing through humor. Veterans have said that they would not miss the next performance for anything!
– Mimi Yasgur, M.A., Senior Services Coordinator, New England Center for Homeless Veterans
Increase leadership skills
True Story Theater can support leadership skills such as:
- Self-confidence and trust
- Courage to take risks
- Creativity and innovation
Client story – a boost of morale: At a leadership development conference for young Egyptian social entrepreneurs, True Story Theater’s performance and workshop enabled participants to see their own strengths and successes more clearly and to gain confidence for the challenges ahead.
Client story – preparing for action: Brazilian immigrants in a suburban town were being harassed by the local police. Organizers from The Anti-Defamation League brought in True Story Theater to help the newcomers prepare for a meeting with the police chief about their mistreatment. By sharing their stories through Playback Theater (working with a translator) participants got to trust each other and gained the confidence they needed to testify.
We loved True Story’s workshop and performance. Everyone on my team appreciated the chance to do something unexpected and unique that challenged us to take a more creative approach to problem solving.
– Technical communications manager, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Tori Orr