Storytelling: Building a personal narrative using theatre

September 7, 2015

Last week’s terrace talk with Aruna Ganesh was nothing short of captivating. From achieving accolades in branding to her successful transition into the theatre world, the whole talk was thoroughly engaging.


Aruna(@arunaganeshram) is a performance director, deviser, designer and founder of Visual Respiration. After successfully establishing herself in the field of marketing, Aruna decided to plunge into the world of theatre. It was only then that Visual Respiration was born.

Visual Respiration is a theatre group that focuses on a form called immersive theatre. They focus on designing performances that engage the audience using all their sensory organs. Aruna’s theatrical performances seek to bring out a person’s personal point of view, highlighting human emotions.

Aruna’s workshops extract elements from theatre which she uses with non-theatre groups (like corporates & schools) to build a personal narrative. With the audience being an active part of the plays, these workshops aim at inculcating skills and values in everyday life. As the audience participates, they learn about confidence, discipline, communication and varied human emotions – all of which can be imbibed in the corporate world. Each time an audience member participates in the play, they are probed to come up with different scenarios. This builds their creativity and spontaneity, values that are credible in the working world. These human nuances can be observed in, say, clients before creating a pitch or before training employees to see what works best. Corporates can get customers to participate in a game, either in online or digitally.

According to Aruna, every story has definitive checkpoints that should be followed to keep the audience engaged:

  1. Introducing plot
  2. Introducing character
  3. Introducing conflict
  4. Action for the conflict
  5. Resolution

These stories should ideally be short, well crafted and original so that customers listen intently.

Her passion and desire to make a mark in the world of theatre shone through in the forty minutes she spent with us. It was only after she spoke to us that we realized how impactful theatre can really be and how it’s not just about glamour or stardom.


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