Berkeley Interactive Theater (BIT) uses live theater and audience interaction to depict, analyze, and understand more personally problematic workplace situations. Participants work through their own perspectives, emotions, and assumptions to gain a greater appreciation of the underlying motivations and subtleties of misunderstanding that can escalate into conflict. Participants leave with a visceral understanding of the complex dynamics and profound impact of difficult interactions, as well as, an actual experience of strategizing how to manage problems and seek long-term solutions. The scenarios are multi-dimensional, revealing not only the dynamics of particular diversity issues, but also the dynamics of human interaction when faced with these issues and their likely legal implications.
BIT workshops increase empathy for different points of view; raise consciousness about issues concerning gender, race, sexual orientation, and other dimensions of diversity; identify and promote behaviors conducive to eliminating bias and creating inclusive work environments; analyze personal reaction as being separate from professional response; and foster on-going dialogue among program participants.
BIT facilitated discussions increase self-awareness and self-inquiry as tools for employees at all levels; heighten awareness of how our thoughts, emotions, and assumptions influence our perceptions, which in turn, influence our behaviors; teach listening to understand rather than find fault or place blame; attend to intention and impact when addressing problematic communication and behavior; invite thinking outside “my own perspective” and opening to multiple points of view; and approach problem-solving in a manner that maintains the dignity of everyone in a problematic situation.
BIT is a theater ensemble of faculty, staff, students, and alums from the University of California Berkeley offering consulting, education, and facilitation opportunities in the service of fairness, inclusion, and justice, now in its 8th year. We work with departments, units, colleges, universities, and companies to address their concerns around race, gender, status, age, class, sexuality, and ability through trainings, workshops, and conference presentations using original, co-developed, research-based, and co-facilitated scripted performance processes. Berkeley Interactive Theater is part of the multicultural education and diversity work within the Division of Equity and Inclusion at UCB and is housed within the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.