One million ways to use Story

Melbourne Playback took part in the ‘Celebrating Story’ conference again this year. Andrew and Ian offered an active workshop entitled ‘interrupting and disrupting story’ on Thursday and a team of us performed a playback theatre show to open the second day of the conference.

It is always fascinating to meet other people who work with story in their professional lives and exchange ideas and approaches. I am particularly interested to see how story is increasingly being used in the corporate world within organisational development, change management and other areas concerned with organisational culture and performance management.

I was inspired to hear how one organisation had discovered the value of collecting the stories and anecdotes from its staff and has started publishing them to accompany the annual report. (Some qualitative material to balance the quantitative data). Another organisation uses the sharing of personal life stories as an integral part of a two-day retreat for its senior management staff. And a group of midwives use story to learn from each other’s experiences. In these cases, story is a tool used for individuals and working communities to define themselves, explore their culture and share knowledge. Humans have used story like this for eons. It makes perfect sense for business to harness the power of storytelling too.

For me, this conference was a reminder of how important and relevant the work of Melbourne Playback can be to communities and organisations. We have a real passion for storytelling and its role in our lives. We love finding theatrical ways of illuminating the meaning within stories and helping stories enrich and transform the collective experience. It is fantastic to meet others who share this enthusiasm for story and to see how they are using it in similar contexts. Thanks to Andrew Rixon of Babel Fish Group for bringing such a diverse group of story practitioners together again this year.

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