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Rediff.com  » Business » Now, corporates to get HR lessons from theatre

Now, corporates to get HR lessons from theatre

Last updated on: August 13, 2010 13:14 IST

Now, corporates to get HR lessons from theatre

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Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata

There is no business like show business. And to thespian Kaushik Sen and corporate head honcho Suvojit Roy, this is more than just a cliche.

Roy, chief executive officer of ORION Entertainment, and Sen, pivot of a Kolkata-based group Swapnosandhani, have joined hands to impart corporates (in and out of Kolkata) skills in human resource development, management and other related issues -- with theatre as the tool.

In this venture, ORION is to act as the facilitator between the corporate houses and Swapnosandhani.

How does the duo plan to use theatre to train executives? What exactly will be their modus operandi? Which companies do they plan to work with? How expensive will the theatre workshops be for the corporates?

To get answers to all these queries, rediff.com spoke to the 'dynamic duo'.

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Image: Suvojit Roy, CEO, ORION Entertainment.
Photographs: Courtesy: ORION Entertainment.
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What motivated ORION and Swapnosandhani to come together?

"Having worked in many corporate houses, I am aware of the problems and stress that the companies have to deal with at present, " Roy said.

"Doing business amid tough competition isn't easy and a corporate execeutive often fails to deliver under pressure. To counter this, I thought of launching an initiative wherein employees of big companies will get a chance to hone their managerial skills.

"And for someone with a passion and penchant for theatre, I chose this medium as a skill-building tool," he added.

Picking Swapnosandhani as the theatre group came naturally to Roy as "I have great faith in Kaushik's talent and also because his group has participated in National School of Drama festival for five consecutive years. This is a rare feat by any theatre group in the city for that matter."

For Kaushik Sen, the motivating factors are both financial and professional.

"Though ORION, as a corporate house, is less than three years old, it is already known for its refined taste and an earnestness to do something different. While discussing this new venture with Suvojit, I was instantly drawn to it for its novelty of purpose and also for the financial benefits it would fetch for my theatre group members," Sen said.

"After all, the theatre is a very powerful tool for communication and if that can be utilised for better functioning of the corporate houses, it can not only develop into a viable profession but also as an effective medium for socio-economic development," he added.

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Image: Kaushik Sen.
Photographs: Courtesy: ORION Entertainment
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How it works

To start with, ORION will act as a bridge between the corporate clients and Swapnosandhani. A workshop module will be worked out for each client depending on the need.

"For instance, if a particular client needs lessons in human resource, Swapnosandhani will teach them the same through a capsule play. For clients in need of training in some other fields will be offered the same," said Roy.

Both ORION and Swapnosandhani are about to sign their first agreement with a big utility firm in Kolkata and the first workshop will take off in September. (The duo is on the verge of signing a few other pacts as well but cannot reveal the partners' names).

"We look forward to our first interaction wherein we will address top management of the corporate house. A lot of our future decisions will depend on our first experience," Sen said.

Sen's words were seconded by Roy. "We have to assess if the audience is being pro-active or reactive. Depending on their response, we will need to formulate our next training modules," said the ORION chief.

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Image: ORION will act as a bridge between the corporate clients and Swopnosandhani.

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How expensive will the training modules be?

"Each training session will be approximately three-hour long and will cost Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 on an average," the ORION chief said.

"However, there are a lot of variables. For instance, if any company asks for a training module for six months at a stretch for X number of employees, the cost per session will naturally come down to Rs 10,000 whereas if some other company wants a two-day training capsule for the same number of staff, the cost will be double," he added.

Aren't the rates a bit steep for an idea so fresh?

Roy did not agree. "If a three-hour training session caters to about 1,200 corporate employees at a time, the expenditure incurred by that corporate house per employee will be meagre ompared to the skills s/he would learn."

Besides, "anything novel comes at a price," he reasoned.

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Image: Each training session will be approximately three-hour long and will cost Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.

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Plans on the anvil

For theatre personality Kaushik Sen, thinking big comes as naturally as breathing and, therefore, he is visibly happy to be able to garner some corporate support for his group.

"People passionately in love with theatre often fail to pursue it for want of money. I do hope that this new venture breathes in a some monetary benefits into the group.

"Also, though we are supposed to train the corporates as per plan, I am sure, we too would gain some knowledge that would help us further sharpen our art. After all, learning is a two-way process benefiting the tutor as well as the taught," Sen said.

The road ahead is a long and a difficult one. Yet the "future holds a lot of promise for us," said Roy.

"In the West, theatre personalities ring your doorbell to stage an impromptu play on any social event of local or national importance. If people there welcome such practices, I don't see any reason why corporates of our country won't make the most of this interesting venture of ours," he said.

"We are about to sign on the dotted line with a few biggies very soon. And once they are 'won over' by Swapnosandhani's magic, their fellows, I am sure, will soon queue up at our door," Roy added.

"Swapnosandhani in Bangla means someone in pursuit of dreams. And life seldom lets a dreamer down," he said. 



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