IÉSEG’s ‘Best Of’ – drama in the spotlight

As part of the Grande École program and the Bachelor in International Business, all first-year students are required to take practical drama courses. These mandatory courses are an opportunity for students to reveal themselves, work on their self-confidence and public speaking skills.

Each year, no less than 1,400 students benefit from the expertise of 21 experienced and passionate professors. At the end of the semester, the ‘Best Of’ event (which was held on November 23 and 25 on the Paris-La Défense campus and Lille campus) allows students to show their work by performing in front of their peers.

For more than 18 years, the ‘drama team’ under the authority of Partick THERY has been teaching this art at IÉSEG. “It all started with the observation that a lot of students were introverts by nature and had a hard time communicating. The artistic practice on stage has allowed them to free their speech, to express themselves, to channel themselves and to be more efficient in their way of communicating. Thus, IÉSEG has realized the benefits that the practice of drama could have for the students. It was therefore decided to give them the opportunity to follow these courses. These courses have evolved over the years to include writing and staging”, explains Patrick THERY.

During the first semester, the objective for the students is to work on the relationships with others. They begin to reflect on the world of work and its values through a theme that they choose in groups of 4 or 5. Each group then has to write a scene of 7 or 8 minutes on the chosen topic and play the scene during the ‘Best Of’ at the end of the semester. The students then have 7 sessions of 3 hours to prepare the staging of their show. These workshops teach students how to stand in front of an audience, how to listen to themselves free their voice and manage their emotions. “When it comes to acting, you have to be very agile, open-minded and culturally open as well. You have to learn to accept mistakes and question yourself. The workshops are a space for development for the students. They are confronted to themselves and learn from themselves. Little by little, self-confidence and self-assertion can be noticed even with the most shy and introverted students”, adds Corinne BAROIS.

During the second semester, the students work on empathy. They play a character other than themselves. This is a project focused on the theme of solidarity through which students learn to fully feel the emotions of a person in a difficult situation. Although the work is always done in groups, individual expression is emphasized in this course. This module is fully in line with the School’s Vision, which aims to empower committed and responsible “changemakers”.

The practice of drama is first and foremost an experience where students learn to work together. They experience the principle of dissociation by playing different roles, as they will do in corporate life.

As a coach and stage director, it is a gift to be able to watch the students’ progress. These programs foster change that transforms them and helps them get ahead. Some discover strengths they never thought they had. In addition, they are led to open up culturally with texts from authors and for some of the students, it is a real discovery “, concludes Corinne BAROIS.