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How a CommunicateHealth Project Is Like One of Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare in CH tee

We did some audio recording at CommunicateHealth last night for a video installation we’re creating to demonstrate the challenges consumers face around understanding environmental health information.

My job was to recruit actors to do the voice over work for the video. (In addition to being CommunicateHealth’s Office Manager, I’m also an actor.) In the course of explaining the purpose of our video installation, I realized that CommunicateHealth has a lot in common with what we, as actors, do in rehearsing one of Shakespeare’s plays.

For actors, our first step is table work — reading and exploring the text of the play to make sure we truly understand it. To do this, we use a lot of tools including our understanding of rhetoric, Shakespeare’s use of punctuation, references for classical and biblical allusions, and the Riverside Shakespeare. The table work prepares us to tell the story clearly.

CommunicateHealth uses a similar process at the start of a new project. We use existing materials from the client, peer-reviewed literature on the topic, relevant news articles and blogs, client meetings, in-depth interviews, and listening sessions to make sure we understand just what it is that needs to be said more clearly. Doing so allows us to develop the plain language and clean designs that effectively tell the project’s story.

And, by the way, we got some great audio.


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