In 2020, we converted our usual annual gathering into three virtual sessions to enable our community to stay connected and continue having meaningful conversations during these challenging times. Participants joined us from around the globe – from Singapore to Seattle.
The pandemic and our economic response raised concerns that we might see another “K-shaped recovery,” widening inequality.
As our societies continue the critical process of rebuilding – from our communities and institutions to our economies and social contracts – we have an opportunity to put the pieces together in new ways, for more inclusive, sustainable and just growth.
With the theme Re/Assemble, the sessions in 2020 examined the kind of leadership required to come together stronger, driving societies and economies that support everyone.
Session 1: September 18
The programme started with a powerful performance by Beirut-based writer and performer Dima Mikhayel Matta, after which CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga, Project Drawdown’s editor-in-chief Katharine Wilkinson and urban revitalisation strategist Majora Carter reflected on how we can reassemble our economies and societies in more sustainable, inclusive and just ways.
One of the key questions from this discussion was how leaders can open themselves and their organisations up to disruption by those who have historically been excluded. Could we create literal seats at our board tables to represent the interests of youth activists, low-status communities, or even the planet itself? How can we listen better, and offer better partnership and allyship to those who are seeking to change the systems we are a part of?
The conversation continued in smaller groups focused on more detailed topics, from how we create more dynamic urban governance to how we use technology to create human interaction for more people.
The Performance Theatre founder Osvald Bjelland and new chairman of our advisory board Hans Vestberg closed the session by reflecting on the way forward for The Performance Theatre, reiterating our commitment to listen carefully and be community driven.
Session 2: October 23
Building on the 2020 theme Re/Assemble, the session continued our exploration of the role that leadership, both local and global, plays in creating a new dynamic between national and international, individual and community, competition and collaboration.
After a short performance by Vienna-based artist Rotraud Kern and formal welcome by chairman of the TPT advisory board Hans Vestberg, the Turkish Foreign Minister HE Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and TPT advisory board member Cuneyd Zapsu examined the drivers underlying the rise of nationalism, and what might cause former allies to go to war.
World Bank Group General Counsel Dr Sandie Okoro and Founder and Director at The WOW Foundation Jude Kelly CBE took an honest look at the legacy of our global institutions and how power systems reorganise in the wake of crises.
The group discussions and Human Stories session, inspired by our 2017 collaboration with Human Library SG, helped us bring local and individual perspectives to the challenges connected to recovery.
The Performance Theatre founder Osvald Bjelland closed the session by reflecting on the vision for The Performance Theatre and its mandate as we move into TPT’s next chapter.
Session 3: December 11
In the final session of our Re/Assemble virtual series, The Performance Theatre community explored alternative scenarios for the decade ahead and our own place in those range of possible futures.
After welcoming the community, Hans Vestberg spoke to catalysts from Xynteo’s Leadership Vanguard programme about the group’s “virtual chemistry” and their thoughts on new ways of problem solving and collaboration in these unique times. Following this, Xynteo’s EVP Veronica Lie had a fireside chat with Jeremy Bentham, VP – Global Business Environment and Head of Shell Scenarios, about how Shell is ‘Rethinking the 2020s’. This conversation took a hard look at our options for recovery and the narratives we want to focus on in this most defining decade for humanity.
‘In a World of Things’, an arts intervention by Dr Zoe Laughlin, director of the Institute of Making, University College London and Dr Mike Pearson, Professor Emeritus of Performance Studies, Aberystwyth University, produced for and with National Theatre Wales, encouraged us to rethink the relationship between humans and the objects around us.
The panel discussion with Sue Kelsey, EVP, Global Consumer Solutions, Mastercard, Taso Du Val, CEO of Toptal and Ruth Harper, VP, Global Strategic Communications, ManpowerGroup discussed the role work will play in reshaping society and vice versa with an emphasis on creative workplaces and workforces that are inclusive.
Before wrapping up, we heard reflections from a few community members about their group discussions and TPT founder Osvald Bjelland formally concluded TPT 2020 with closing remarks, calling on the TPT community to join us in our efforts to build further on TPT’s strong foundations.