It began with a phone call from the Flight Lieutenant. He was adamant that he wanted to provide a day that would still be talked about in the barracks weeks later. His problem was diversity – the Royal Air Force personnel on his West Country base sometimes struggled with the day to day matter of dealing with those who differed from each other both in subtle and not so subtle ways. He wanted his charges to be made aware of the impact their behaviour can have on those who don’t conform to the “norm” and that would, he hoped, be the trigger for positive behavioural change.
We discussed ways of presenting these issues in the most effective way to generate discussion and agreed that Forum Theatre was the best way forward – to create two Forum sketches played out by two actor/facilitators who would then lead a discussion and run the sketches through again, taking on board the participants’ input.
Our actor/facilitators drafted and rehearsed two sketches using the Flight Lieutenant’s input and then ran the session four times to four different groups of RAF personnel on the day itself. The Flight Lieutenant phoned a day or so later to say it had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams – he had, in his words “cried with laughter” at the sketches and then was overwhelmed by the ensuing discussions and – most excitingly – found that the day was still being animatedly talked about all over the barracks two days later.