Module 1: Inspirational Leadership - Lessons from Shakespeare's Henry V

This programme is not currently scheduled.

For details of registration and programme start time see here.

This course does not require previous participation in an Experience Week.

Richard Olivier, Lesley Quilty, Jonathan Dawson & Gill Emslie

Of all Shakespeare’s stories, Henry V offers us the deepest insights into the nature of inspiration.

A new king unites a group of disparate and warring people (his nobles) around a common goal (reclaiming the lost territory of France), overcoming all obstacles in his path on the way to achieving a near miraculous victory against all odds (winning the battle of Agincourt).

Through considering Henry's journey, participants are able to draw parallels with their own experiences, exploring who they are and how they currently communicate as leaders.

Leaders need to be visible. They need to communicate vision and purpose in a way that inspires others and truly reflects their passion and commitment with authenticity. This programme concentrates on achieving the balance of 'authentic performance', and the exploration of the story provides a new vocabulary that can create deep, shared meaning within groups of people – a language that can unite.


It is increasingly common to hear people say that we are facing a crisis of leadership. The ways in which organisations are moving forward can no longer be comprehended through the same models, language and logical analysis that have served leaders in the past.

The rational leader has got business where it is – he/she will be unlikely to be able to take it where it needs to go. The leaders of tomorrow will need to be ordinary human beings with extraordinary talents.

Participants will be introduced to the story of Shakespeare's most inspired and inspiring leader, Henry V. They then choose the leadership challenges they wish to explore. These are typically drawn from the following:

ACT 1 - Assessing the Past and Visioning the Future

  • Building consent - uniting disparate people around a common goal.
  • Distinguishing Mission and Vision – what do we want to do and why do we want to do it?
  • How to sell a Vision – authentic performance in presentations.

ACT 2 - Identifying internal resources and 'traitors'

  • Interactive session to identify own leadership style.
  • Reflection on positive and negative potentials.

ACT 3 - Overcoming first blocks to success

  • Techniques to motivate demoralised troops.
  • Influencing skills to overcome complacency – 'painting negative pictures'.

ACT 4 - Crisis Management

  • Holding authority wisely – ‘power distance’
  • Emotional Intelligence - managing fear and doubt in self and others.
  • Inspiring the troops to keep struggling against the odds.

ACT 5 - Turning the Battlefield into a Garden

  • Building relationships.
  • Sowing seeds for sustainable development and success.

Participants consider and ask questions about their current leadership challenges and relate them to Henry V's leadership journey as we work through each of the five Acts. Act I contains an interactive session to explore the nature of inspiration and personal reflection on sense of purpose. Act 2 includes a lively and insightful experiential exercise to assess leadership strengths and weaknesses, a debrief to understand how different styles of leadership act in practice and co-coaching to identify 'the inner traitors'. In Act 3 each participant will engage in a facilitated 'rehearsal' around a current leadership issue of their choice. These are based on Henry V's key challenges: Selling the Vision, Motivating Troops and Painting Negative Pictures. In Act 4 participants will work in small groups to focus and mythodramatically 'live through' what Henry called The Dark Night, facing the voices of fear, doubt and uncertainty that might get in their way of achieving an important goal. In Act 5 we create space for reflection and consider action plans for applying the lessons learned.

Tiered price (click here for more information): £195 / £295 / £395

Tiered Pricing

We want to ensure that our workshops and events are accessible to a diverse range of people and recognise that one person’s financial situation will differ from another. So that money is not a barrier to participating in our workshops and events, we offer a tiered pricing structure and ask that you select the price appropriate for your personal circumstances. Please take a moment to read about our tiered pricing here.

Includes 2 nights accommodation and all meals.

This Mythodrama programme is offered in two modules. For information on Module 2 please click here.

To book Module 1 only please click in the date link above on the right.


Richard Olivier is Artistic Director and founder of Olivier Mythodrama, an Associate Fellow of Said Business School, University of Oxford, and a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation.
More information here.

Lesley Quilty is a creative consultant, facilitator, coach and theatre artist. An Associate of Olivier Mythodrama, her work is informed by over 20 years' experience of personal and organisational development. More information here.

Jonathan Dawson is a sustainability workshop leader and storyteller, with substantial experience as a consultant, researcher and author on themes relating to organisational development, third world development and the economics of sustainability.

Gill Emslie is a passionate workshop leader and experienced facilitator. She works locally and internationally, and in global hot spots, developing resilience in times of change.