International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleGentle method: from actor training to leadership futures
Type of ArticleIdeas and Influences
Author/sAnthony McCann
ReferenceVolume 5, Issue 1, Article 11
Date of PublicationMay 2015
Keywordsactor training, culture change, emotional courage, Gentle Method, leadership, presence

Last September I presented a keynote on healthcare and culture change at a practice development conference in Toronto. I spent the whole of day before I left sitting in on a marathon six-hour session at Miriam Laurence’s Integrated Acting System studio.

I was grateful to experience a working studio before setting up my own, which I did in January this year. I established the Hummingbird Actors Studio in Bangor, Northern Ireland, because I love acting, theatre, and film. Another reason is because we need to start experimenting with new ways of thinking about leadership training for long-term culture change. As I’ll explain, actor training is for me one of the best places to start reimagining what helpful training might look like.

What strikes me while watching actors in training is the emotional courage they bring to performance – their commitment to vulnerability in the cause of learning. I taught for 17 years at university level, and the height of expectation for students was always that such levels of courage and vulnerability might be a destination for them. Possibly. Occasionally. Hopefully.

For actors, though, it’s not a destination. It’s the starting point. Seeing actors work with such commitment to emotional awareness, even when only at the beginning of their training, is always inspirational.


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This article by Anthony McCann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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