In April 2019, the Duke School of Medicine and Office of Research Mentoring sponsored a Theater Delta workshop for school faculty and staff. Theater Delta is an interactive theater program, and April’s workshops focused on establishing healthy and effective mentoring relationships.
Theater Delta focuses on scripted and improvisational audience participatory theater to encourage dialogue among participants and implement solutions to scenarios presented during the program. The three workshops at Duke focused on unconscious bias in mentoring, achieving satisfaction through mentoring relationships, and research ethics in academic medicine.
Following each of the sessions in the April presentation, audience members were given the opportunity to ask the actors questions in character about the choices they made in the scene. Facilitators then led the group in engaging, constructive conversations that helped to highlight the key messages and themes portrayed in the workshop.
Mark Dewhirst, DVM, PhD, has used Theater Delta in the past to illustrate various scenarios his researchers could experience in his lab. He believes watching the actors perform these vignettes provides a unique way to allow people to recognize the role of body language and how people interact in a variety of situations.
“Watching the actors act out the play makes these scenarios feel impactful,” Dewhirst said. “It’s really interesting, and it drives home the messages and issues that are taking place in academic settings while providing audience members the opportunity to suggest solutions.”