Our facilitation style follows Chris Johnston’s idea of ‘One leader, one observer’. Working in a partnership with one another allows for greater awareness and control from us as workshop leaders. We can note changes in the participants, seeing how they react to the activities we propose to them and whether there are any conflicts within the group. In addition, as facilitators, we become aware of how we conduct ourselves and whether our explanations are unclear.
As we have a focus on encouraging discussions in our workshops and sharing back, it is important that we apply another of Geese Theatre’s theories; the one step removed approach. In its simplest form, this refers to our focus on the use of characters, both ourselves in role but also the participants too. This allows us to dig deeper into the focus of the workshop, but decreases the chances of addressing participants at a personal level. It also means that, within the workshop, everyone is starting from the same page. No one is left behind because they may not have come across a certain issue in their own lives. For example, one aspect of the workshop which all participants have a fair and equal opportunity to discuss is the performance presented by us, the facilitators. This means that any discussions are focussed on the characters.
As mentioned in our planning section, encouraging our clients’ involvement is invaluable to our progress in this business. A way we look at our relationship with our clients is that you are the knowledge that underlines our research and we are a tool used to explore the issues in particular topics in a manner that is different to their day-to-day classes; an experience whilst still learning. As well as this, we welcome teachers/group leaders to be present in the room to continue to “key in information about the group, or constructively help with the process” (Johnston, 2005, p. 67) as we maintain that the welfare of the participants is crucial, and our clients are best placed to support us in maintaining this.
An element which supports how we retain and keep the participants focused is the differing of their positions. In drama workshops, it is easy to keep classes in a circle; it brings about a sense of informality and that we are all the same. However, we are also aware the repetitive nature of returning to a circle each time is what can bore participants. So, in the spaces we facilitate in, we always ensure that our activities and exercises encourage the students to use the full space available (whether it be in lines, walking around the space, performing in different parts of the space). These workshops do not stay static for a second…unless we are using freeze frames as our main activity.
DASH Theatre have two main styles facilitating classes; firstly, there is workshop-based, and secondly, performance-based. For details on the rough structure we follow for this style, click on planning. The main reason for adopting this approach with some of the topics is that it allows space and time for discussion and sharing of views and opinions. Not all topics are simply right and wrong and believe we would be contradict our role if we were to preach a biased argument. Our other style of classes are performance-based. As we use drama activities, there is usually a sense of performing in whatever style we adopt. Of course, the workshop-based sessions still include a mini performance, the emphasis is on the participants’ own exploration. In our performance-based classes, we shift the emphasis onto participants becoming viewers of a world and to comment on character’s actions through the form of a small post-show workshop. We use this style when a particular subject could be better displayed through the form of telling someone’s story in order to give the participants a chance to become observers.