Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Industrial Theatre

Everybody wants it but nobody knows what it is. I get these emails asking me to quote for ‘the industrial theatre’. Some boss’s secretary will phone me to find out how much ‘an industrial theatre’ will cost. And then somebody will throw me a boomerang question like ‘please quote me for an industrial theatre team building session’.

So, if anyone is (embarrassedly) looking for some industrial theatre, or someone is studying it (it’s quite a popular project topic too) and still doesn’t know what it is; I hope google will point you here. Industrial Theatre; What is it? Who does it? How? Where? When?

There are two different types of Industrial theatre. The one kind is where a piece of live theatre is pre-made, usually with a pretty general message like AIDS awareness in the workplace, or sexual harassment, or corruption. This pre-made, ‘generic’ show then gets sold on to many different companies who want to send that particular message to their employees.  The other kind is where a company has a particular message to deliver to a particular group of people and the live performance is specially created for that client. Here, through consultation, a concept is arrived at, a script is written and approved, then actors are cast and rehearsed, and costumes, sets and props are made and bought, the production is performed for the client and then for the employees. Sometimes there will be a once-off performance, sometimes there will be a road show with many performances and sometimes there will be multiple performances in and around a factory or company site. Improvision, my company, is mainly involved with this second type of Industrial theatre; which is created on commission. An audience can be anyone, from factory workers to top management, the message; anything from dealing with racism to productivity.

DSCF1001 Industrial theatre can be performed in front of a huge seated audience, with all the technicals, like lights, sound, and AV effects. It can be performed for a small audience in a stair well, in a boardroom, on a boat, on a gas refinery plant. It can be funny, serious, clever, simple, long, short and in any language. Some projects are very long term, where characters are developed and then reappear the following year to an audience who already knows them. Others are short, sharp messages that happen once.

Corporate theatre is Industrial theatre on the high end of the scale where a live show is used to launch a new product, like cars, or as entertainment at really high end functions. These shows often make use of celebrities, have huge budgets and are very spectacular.

The main difference when making Industrial theatre as opposed to traditional theatre is the audience. Industrial theatre is tailor made to the needs of a guaranteed and targeted audience and it is designed to be informative, instructional and message driven.

Industrial theatre can also be exciting and edgy. We have pretended to be real people for crisis simulations, we have been “the winds of change” that interrupted a seminar on change management, we have improvised sensitive scenes on touchy subjects like racism, we have been policemen on a shebeen raid.

Do you need Industrial theatre? Send me a message on megan@improvision.co.za or call me on 0834403961.

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6 Comments

  1. Bongani

    Hi my name is Bongani Ngcobo i am a good actor and script writer im interested to perform in industrial theatre if you have a opportunity im avalable i did a lot of shows

  2. My name is Nonjabulo and I work for a company called Knowledge Pele. We are a joburg based company working on development programmes in the Western Cape.

    We are looking for a team to put together a production/play/theatre etc. to teach to a group of young guys from a community in WC called Touwsrivier. You would also be required to help prepare for the event and ensure it goes off well (even though you might not be the ones in the play etc.) We would like to add this as an element to our launch event for development programmes we will be implementing in that community.

    The launch event is set for 5th of December 2015. Could you please let us know if this is something you could do and briefly how you would do it?

    If so, please could you provide a quote.

    We are working under some very tight deadlines so a quote as soon as possible would really be appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

  3. Terry Bez

    Megan – please contact me I would like to discuss some industrial theatre work for our organisation for the 4th December
    Regards
    Terry

  4. Karla

    Looking for an industrial group in Cape Town

  5. i need industrial theatre dances can you please give me a quoation

  6. I don’t have industrial theatre dancers.

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