Jessica Hodder, OICD’s artist-in-residence, led the organization’s first theatre workshop this past Tuesday, July 16 at Doshisha University. Using techniques from Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, and other dramatic methods, Hodder facilitated a ninety-minute workshop demonstrating the ways in which performance can be used within the work of the organization. Tayler Groom, an OICD intern, was particularly intrigued by the workshop. “I think that theatre will prove to be a very beneficial tool for the organization, particularly in exploring alternate ways in which a situation can play out,” Groom remarked. “These exercises can help us to better understand the complexities of identity and conflict.” Aliya Tskhay echoed Groom’s sentiment: “Through various activities, we have learned not only more about ourselves but also how to find alternative solutions to life situations.”
Dr. Bruce White, the director of OICD, also expressed his support: “The workshop run by Jessica Hodder at the OICD on the subject of theatre and identity helped to set out concrete ways to utilize performance-based activities within the organization, particularly across the areas of training development for in-house staff and outside practitioners, intervention programming, and theoretical modeling of identity dynamics. The activities that Jessica introduced have great potential to improve the effectiveness of a wide variety of OICD work.”
Five specific applications of performance within the organization emerged during the course of this workshop:
1. In-House Organizational Development
In order for the OICD to be effective, it is vital for its members to fully understand the significance and complexity of identities, as well as the way in which identities can be used to transform conflict and build cohesion. Theatre can allow members to not only learn about identities, but to engage with them in a meaningful way.
2. Theoretical Modeling of Identity Dynamics
Theatre and performance can serve as useful tools to both explain and advance theory models, especially those attempting to model identity dynamics. Using theatrical techniques, models can be explored in a tangible way, giving identity and conflict theorists a more effective way of identifying holes or weaknesses within them.
3. Identity Research
Theatre and performance could help the OICD and its associated researchers identify the various concepts that shape identities within a particular region or community and then supply them with information about how the concepts relate to one another. This could help to expedite research processes, as the current methods used to collect such information can be lengthy and time-consuming.
4. Training Practitioners in Intra-Cultural Development
Theatre and performance can be used within the OICD’s future week-long training programs, educating practitioners in intra-cultural development techniques worldwide.
5. Complement and Improve the Effectiveness of Existing Interventions in the Field
Theatre and performance can act as invaluable tools within existing intra-cultural interventions overseen by the OICD or administered by outside practitioners.
After finishing her work on the “Applied Performance Resource Toolkit,” a document encompassing useful activities, materials, contacts, and references for the organization, Hodder will begin to dissect the proposed OICD intra-cultural training course for practitioners and suggest ways in which theatre can be directly implemented into the program.