Category Archives: Agile in Theatre-making

Agile and Scrum in Directing a Play

Before learning about and working within an Agile framework, I was a theatre arts professor, and directed countless play productions, large and small, modern and classical. I believe I took to the way of Agile quite naturally because it aligned with so much of my creative processes as a theatre-maker.

Recently, I had the opportunity to direct a newly-written script of a play called AfterWhys, which was commissioned by the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington Dufferin. My BERTEIG colleagues supported me taking this on amidst my regular responsibilities.

After a five-year hiatus from theatre-directing work, I became extremely conscious of the natural alignment between Agile and Scrum principles and practices, and my style of directing. Here’s some of the principles and processes I used:

  • Cast actors that you can determine to have the capacity to play a variety roles – in other words, they have “cross-functional” skills as actors.
  • At first rehearsal, behave like a Scrum Master with a “team” – the director’s role is to encourage, support, and remove obstacles that may prevent them from doing their best.
  • At the first rehearsal, be vulnerable about who I am and how I work, and invite them to share their experiences and hopes as well, as in “individuals and interactions over processes and tools.”
  • In the first read-through of the script, invite the actors not to act – to just feel their way through the text and the scenes without pre-judging how they should be. Many directors pre-plan every movement and how every character should behave, sound and look before even starting rehearsals – I don’t, as in “responding to change over following a plan.”
  • Give them “the tools they need” to realize the truth of their characters and embody them – “teach if necessary,” ie. I taught the cast a new way to analyze their scenes which they found was very helpful.
  • Create the space and the environment necessary for experimentation, i.e. an environment of trust and safety, of failing fast, and learning and discovering.
  • Direct the scenes, scene changes, and costumes in response to the expressed needs of the stakeholders; in this case, the play would tour and be performed in a variety of venues, therefore simplicity of props, costumes and scene changes was a necessity.
  • Use the days and weeks of rehearsals as “sprints;” what is the desired outcome of each sprint? Rehearsals were time-boxed, and we had a four-week “delivery” goal.
  • Be transparent about progress – what’s working, what’s not, and how can I help each and all work better?
  • Hold a time of reflection (retrospective) at the end of each week or sprint – allow for the expression of feelings, concerns, questions, needs, etc. This created greater transparency, trust and unity in the “team.”
  • When actors change a direction or try something new that is not in the script (plan) and it works to enliven the play and make it more meaningful, I encourage them to keep that, as in “responding to change.”
  • The stakeholders (those who commissioned the play and organized their performances) came into the rehearsals twice to give their feedback on what we were creating. They were extremely pleased with the “product.”

To sum up, although this was clearly not a technical situation or a business, many of the Agile principles were used to create a finished product – a social issue play on elder suicide that went before appreciative audiences!

When I think about so many realms of life that we all work in, it is clear that Agile principles can be used in a variety of scenarios and endeavours to ensure a positive outcome.

What endeavours have you been involved in where Agile and Scrum were useful?

 


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

Please share!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Berteig
Upcoming Courses
View Full Course Schedule
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1595.00
Nov 19
2019
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1599.00
Nov 22
2019
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
London
C$1795.00
Nov 22
2019
Details
Certified Scrum Professional - ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM)
Online
C$2199.00
Nov 22
2019
Details
Certified Scrum Professional - ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM)
Online
C$2199.00
Nov 23
2019
Details
BERTEIG Real Agility Series:: Five Essential Agile Tools for Project Managers
Online
C$0.00
Nov 25
2019
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1795.00
Nov 26
2019
Details
Licensed Scrum Master® (LSM)
Toronto
C$1595.00
Nov 27
2019
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1599.00
Nov 29
2019
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1595.00
Dec 3
2019
Details
Kanban Management Professional® (KMP II)
Toronto
C$1795.00
Dec 5
2019
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1599.00
Dec 6
2019
Details
Certified Scrum Professional - ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM)
Online
C$2199.00
Dec 7
2019
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1595.00
Dec 9
2019
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP)
Toronto
C$1195.00
Dec 10
2019
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I)
Toronto
C$1525.00
Dec 10
2019
Details
Kanban System Design® (KMP I)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Dec 11
2019
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Dec 12
2019
Details
Certified Scrum Professional - ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM)
Online
C$1869.15
Jan 10
2020
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP)
Toronto
C$1015.75
Jan 16
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Jan 17
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Jan 18
2020
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I) [PSF Courseware]
London
C$1296.25
Jan 21
2020
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Jan 21
2020
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Jan 23
2020
Details
Licensed Scrum Master Product Owner® (LSMPO)
Toronto
C$1695.75
Jan 28
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Feb 1
2020
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Feb 4
2020
Details
Kanban System Design® (KMPI)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Feb 6
2020
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I)
Toronto
C$1270.75
Feb 11
2020
Details
Leading SAFe® with SA Certification (+FREE Scaling Workshop)
Toronto
C$1185.75
Feb 11
2020
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Feb 25
2020
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Feb 27
2020
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP)
Toronto
C$1015.75
Mar 4
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Mar 7
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Mar 8
2020
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I)
Toronto
C$1270.75
Mar 9
2020
Details
Licensed Scrum Master® (LSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Mar 10
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Mar 21
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Mar 22
2020
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Mar 24
2020
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Mar 26
2020
Details
Kanban System Design® (KMPI)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Mar 31
2020
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
London
C$1525.75
Apr 1
2020
Details
Kanban Management Professional® (KMPII)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Apr 2
2020
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I)
Toronto
C$1270.75
Apr 20
2020
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I) [PSF Courseware]
Toronto
C$1270.75
Apr 27
2020
Details
Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I)
Toronto
C$1270.75
May 26
2020
Details