Unique project combines business and theatre

Unique project combines business and theatre

Stevenson business students will have the unique opportunity of learning leadership skills through storytelling by teaming up with the theatre department at Stevenson.

Professors Anna Kayes and Ryan Clark collaborated to create a workshop in which theatre and business students could work together to develop leadership skills.

A collaboration between business and leadership professor Anna Kayes, and Ryan Clark, program chair of the theatre and media performance department, will provide students of both majors a chance to come together and learn from each other in a two-day workshop titled “Leadership Storytelling.”

Held in the Rockland banquet room, the workshop will offer both classes the opportunity to meet in the mornings for a simulation in which business students will pitch their leadership stories in a casual, ‘cocktail party’-like event to theatre and media performance students who will be playing the role of top Amazon executives.

In all avenues of the professional world, solid communication skills are vitally important, and being a more confidant and articulate communicator can make a huge difference, especially for those in leadership positions.

Students in the workshop developed their improvisational skills and participated in several different creative exercises. (Photo by Brian Hodges)

“In today’s highly competitive business environment, it is imperative for leaders to be able to articulate who they are and what they stand for,” said Kayes.

The workshop itinerary, constructed by Kayes and Clark, also includes common improvisational games often practiced by thespians in order to warm up their minds and spark creativity.

From an introduction name game to a “prop grab bag” activity in which students will reach into a bag of props and tell a quick story off the top of their head, these routines will encourage students not only to warm up their minds in an enjoyable way, but also to strengthen their communication and creative thinking skills. The practice exercises will also reinforce the students’ confidence in sharing thoughts and ideas.

Clark’s students will benefit as well, as job positions like this are common for actors in the professional world. The exercises will help further develop improvisational skills that are integral to on-stage performances and future auditions. The theatre and media performance department has already been a part of similar workshops with the nursing department, whose students have practiced simulated treatments of patients.

“This promises to create a truly transformational learning experience, offering Stevenson students a space to take academic leadership concepts and create personal meaning by learning leadership storytelling skills,” said Kayes.

Those involved in the program hope it will provide a unique experience for everyone involved and perhaps begin a trend of similar interactive learning programs and collaborations.