We live within a storytelling culture, constantly we hear stories, ever since we were kids from parents, grandparents, school, books, tv, movies newspapers, internet. These stories can shock us, confuse us, they can move us, they can enlighten us and they connect and define us within our culture and cultures we live within.
Stories are a very human currency and when you think about it we are in fact always telling our own personal stories – at work, with friends, family, people we don’t even know well. We tell stories for many reasons; they communicate something about us – our values, our identity, a story can help build relationship with others and it’s just plain fun to tell a story. Usually the stories we tell are stories that involve us or have some meaning to us – these are the types of stories Playback Theatre invite you to share when you come to a performance or when we work in organisations.
But I am still not answering why Personal Stories – personal experiences – are so important. Here is an anecdote that sheds some light…
We were doing a performance recently at a conference with many different stakeholders. The large group had met quite a number of times previous and there were some tensions and misunderstandings between the various groups. During the Playback Theatre show we heard a number of personal experiences about the work they do.
After the performance, we had the opportunity to speak with audience members and people said things like ‘ I have met X before and this is the first time I have understood what it is like to do that job’. In that statement I heard a barrier of misunderstanding bridged, empathy felt and new perspective gained.
I think all I can say is that is the power of a personal story
Personal stories told can resonate with us as humans like the toll of a bell or a ripple in the water from a stone landing or a leaf falling.