Conflict Theatre

Conflict Theatre offers faculty and staff the opportunity to explore and embrace conflict in the workplace using the tools of theatre. 

Learn to view workplace conflict differently

Can you remember the last difficult conversation you had? If you had another chance, would you handle it differently?

Tailored to the UBC context, Conflict Theatre offers a new way to look at old patterns and build the courage to approach workplace conflict differently. 

How does the program work?

Conflict Theatre programming channels Reflexive Conflict Management (RCM), an approach developed by Conflict Theatre’s Faculty Lead, Dr. Tom Scholte. RCM helps people to productively navigate situations of conflict by shifting the focus of conversations from competing visions of what people should “do” to the “principles and values” those actions are intended to serve. By doing so, previously unseen options for alternate actions that serve multiple values come into view.

At Conflict Theatre workshops and events, UBC employees will have the opportunity to practice RCM in the context of forum theatre. A forum theatre play is created and performed by community members, not professional actors, and is presented back to the community. The play is performed a second time and the audience is welcomed to intervene in the scenes, replace characters with whom they identify, and try to change the outcome of the play to one that is more positive. It is a unique opportunity to rehearse courage and apply new strategies to real problems. 

Engaging in Conflict Theatre activities requires no prior experience or background in theatre. Instead, individuals are invited to participate and to expand their comfort zone in a way that feels appropriate to them in the moment.

Employees who participate in or attend a Conflict Theatre community of practice session, workshop, or event will:

  • strengthen empathy and understanding for multiple perspectives within conflict,
  • foster a curiosity-driven approach to conflict, rather than one that is confrontational, fearful, or defensive,
  • self-reflect to better understand their own emotions, context, perspective and patterns during conflict,
  • gain a better understanding of how conflict arises, what keeps it going, and how it can be navigated,
  • become attuned to the systemic drivers of conflict and the leverage points available to address them,
  • join a community of colleagues interested in changing campus culture regarding conflict.

Ways to engage with Conflict Theatre

There are a variety of ways to get involved with Conflict Theatre for UBC faculty and staff. Current opportunities include joining the community of practice, applying to attend the Rehearsing Conflict Summer Intensive, or attending a public performance or workshop. 

1. Join the Conflict Theatre community of practice

Any UBC employee can join the Conflict Theatre community of practice. The community of practice meets once a month over the lunch hour to broaden their understanding of conflict and deepen their skills in navigating difficult situations. Occasionally, members are invited to engage with the broader community through public performances.

We welcome you to join us at an upcoming community of practice session.

  • Date: Thursday, May 18, 2023
  • Time: 12 - 1:30 pm
  • Mode: In person on UBCV
  • Register for event

2. Apply to the Rehearsing Conflict Summer Intensive

In this multi-day workshop series taking place annually in June, a cohort of UBC faculty and staff will embark on a transformative journey using theatre to explore the complexities of conflict engagement.

This series seeks to animate real stories of conflict from our community, ignite meaningful dialogue, and inspire change on campus. Drawing on the visionary techniques of Augusto Boal's "Theatre of the Oppressed," David Diamond's "Theatre for Living," and Professor Tom Scholte's innovative Reflexive Conflict Management approach, this series equips participants with specific and effective tools to navigate difficult conversations in the workplace.

Not only will participants build courage and resilience in conflict situations through this workshop series, but they will also strengthen their creativity. Participants will learn theatre techniques (requiring no previous experience), engage in script writing based on stories from the group, and perform the scripts they generate in a public performance open to all UBC faculty and staff. They will engage in these activities under the supervision of an experienced director. 

Following the workshop series, participants will evaluate this program so that we may continue to make improvements. Moreover, former summer intensive participants become key members of the community of practice where they can continue to hone their conflict engagement skills.

Information about the program for June 2023

Applicants are expected to have full availability for the following dates and times.

  • Wednesday, June 7 from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday, June 8 from 9 am to 5 pm
  • Friday, June 9 from 1 pm to 5 pm
  • Monday, June 12 from 1 pm to 5 pm
  • Tuesday, June 13 from 9 am to 5 pm
Application information

Applications for June 2023 are now closed. If you have questions about this opportunity, please direct them to

3. Attend a public performance or workshop

Throughout the year, Conflict Theatre offers performances and workshops that are open to the UBC community.

Upcoming public performances and workshops are listed below.

  • Event: Rehearsing Conflict Summer Intensive: Final Performance
  • Date: June 13, 2023
  • Time: Doors open at 1:30; show runs from 2 - 4 pm
  • Location: Frederic Wood Theatre, 6354 Crescent Rd, Vancouver, BC 
  • Register for event

Learn more about Conflict Theatre

Conflict Theatre is an initiative of UBC's Human Resources department in collaboration with the Equity and Inclusion Office and the Department of Theatre and Film

For more information about our program and opportunities, email or subscribe to our mailing list. Subscribers to the monthly "Playbill" newsletter receive event reminders and registration details, director's notes, self-reflection prompts, and more.

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