Theory of Contempt Theatre Scenarios

Purpose of the Activity

Here are scenarios I use for improvising scenes using professional actors with follow up Q and A from the audience around the concept of customer care.



I use professional actors to improvise these scenes and the participants can ask questions after each scene. They questions the characters in classic “hot seat” format. Variations include trying out different versions of each scene based on audience suggestions and also audience members being able to “freeze” the scene and re-direct it, especially focused on finding improvement and resolution to the situations.

The scenarios

1 The Washing Machine


Sharon (joined a month ago)

Bill is phoning the housing association and the phone is answered by telephone receptionist Sharon. Bill is a longstanding tenant who, in the past, has helped out a lot and gets “special treatment”. New procedures have come in to stop this. Sharon tries to get his customer ID, name and address but Bill is  evasive asking to have his “usual”. Sharon keeps trying to follow procedure and in the end Bill hangs up.

2 The Digital Warehouse



Emm is bringing a digital camera back to a shop and getting disinterested and patronising treatment from the shop assistant. She ends up demanding to see the manager as he suggests she hasn’t followed the instructions properly. She plugged the camera into the pc and it wouldn’t connect.

3 Office Confrontation

Sharon (from scene 1)


Sharon has gone to confront Operations Manager Steve because she feels undermined. Steve got Bill’s washing machine fixed as a “favour” to Bill, despite procedures saying no one gets special treatment.

4  Email Email Email



John visits Louise, an administrator in person as her desk. He has sent three emails and got no replies and a tenant is on the verge of launching a formal complaint. Louise is snowed under, friendly but hasn’t got round to the email response. She is covering for someone else who is sick as well.

5 Hotel

Receptionist Tina

Guest Michael

Michael arrives late to check in with a bad cold and a cough. He has terrible personal hygiene coughing all over Louise. She is diplomatic but also a bit offhand but checks him in minimally.

6 Post Office

Erica, the shop owner

Des, the customer

It’s 4.30pm Friday. Des wants to send a parcel to the USA. Erica gives one word answers, is unfriendly and minimal making him feel a bit stupid. She’s not nasty, just tired and a bit pissed off with her job.

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