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Expressive Arts

New Postgraduate Paper in Theatre for Innovation

A/P Elspeth Tilley

A/P Elspeth Tilley, paper coordinator

The School of English & Media Studies is launching a new postgraduate communication paper in 2016.

The paper, 139.764 Theatre for Innovation and Communication, is available to students in both the Master of Communication and Bachelor of Communication Honours programmes.

It is an internal, second-semester paper offered at Wellington, and is timetabled on a Tuesday from 4pm to 7pm to enable working professionals to attend in the evening.  Other PG papers in the same programmes are available on Wednesday and Thursday evenings so that professionals studying while working can make up a viable schedule of after-work study on Wellington campus.

Theatre for Innovation and Communication offers an advanced, practical exploration of theatrical improvisation techniques in relation to enhancing creativity, innovation, leadership, teamwork, and communication performance, with an emphasis on the application of theatrical techniques to communication and innovation challenges.

It is designed for those with organisational experience who want to understand how theatre and roleplay can extend their skills as a communicator, manager and team facilitator, or for those with theatre experience who want to move into applying that background to organisational training or communication roles.

In class, students will examine a range of historical and contemporary models for improvisational theatre through reading, seminar discussion and evaluative writing and engage in a range of practical theatre exercises such as spontaneity, story-telling, and character and dramatic narrative development during workshops.  They will also study organisational communication theory and models, particularly evidence-based approaches to non-verbal communication and teamwork.  As part of the final assessment, they will be required to bring these two areas of learning together to research, plan, pitch, deliver and evaluate their own short workshop using theatre and improvisation to offer a communication intervention.

Paper coordinator Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley said the course filled a clear gap in available curricula for postgraduate communication study. “There is growing recognition of the value of creative techniques for improving business and theatre techniques for enhancing communication, but there is nothing like this that brings them together in one integrated learning experience at postgraduate level.”

Dr Tilley has a background as an improviser and theatre practitioner, and has also taught and researched in communication and public relations at advanced levels for more than a decade, meaning she was able to connect up these two areas of expertise in designing the paper. “Organisations have been asking me repeatedly for input on how this is done – with this paper we will be able to upskill a whole new cohort of communication professionals who have evaluated the evidence about creative and improvisational approaches, had practice in designing and delivering workshops, and can go out into industry and start using these techniques effectively to create change in how our organisations innovate and communicate. I’m very excited by the potential for this to lead to significant improvements for New Zealand businesses.”

For more information about the paper, see http://www.massey.ac.nz/paper/?p=139764&o=1229693 or contact Dr Tilley on Email:  e.tilley@massey.ac.nz or Phone: + 64 4 9793565




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