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London’s Guildhall launches performance-based training programme for business leaders

Guildhall School of Music & Drama Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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Guildhall School of Music and Drama has established a programme using theatre texts and acting techniques to build leadership skills in people outside of the industry.

The Leadership Academy, which begins in June, is billed as a way to use the drama school’s knowledge and expertise in the arts to develop new models of leadership and provide training for senior decision makers outside the theatre world.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and Catherine McGuinness, chairman of policy at the City of London Corporation, have already lent their support to the programme, giving keynote speeches at a launch event last week.

Dympna Cunnane, who has been appointed creative director of the new academy, said that Guildhall’s 138-year experience in training artists could be transposed into offering important skills for leadership.

The Leadership Academy’s flagship programme, called the Enriched Leader, will invite senior executives from any sector to “rethink power, authority and ethics in leadership”.

Participants will do this by exploring a number of classical texts and engaging in ensemble work.

The programme will be focused on leadership in public life and will give particular focus to the corporate, healthcare, law and education sectors, Guildhall’s vice principal and director of innovation Helena Gaunt said.

She added: “Underlying this initiative is our belief that leadership is by no means just about the top job, but fundamentally about ensemble, running throughout organisations, and that young people, as well as those established in authority, can and must build the muscles of fine leadership.”

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