An Idea Camp Success Story with Gulf Coast Theatre Students

by November 13, 2013 • 1 comment

If you haven’t been to an IdeaCamp with the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, you are missing out.  These interactive events designed after “Bar Camps” offer a laid back way for community members to share, learn and network in a local restaurant.   A handful of speakers share their experiences and “ideas”, hoping to connect and inspire with their audience.  Connections are made and often cool things happen, as did with Gulf Coast Theatre Department.

A couple months back, Jason Hedden, Associate Professor of Theatre in the Division of Visual and Performing Arts at Gulf Coast State College shared about what his applied theatre class was up to, a concept he called “Rehearsal for Reality.”

The way his students would “rehearse for reality” would be to use theatre techniques such as improvisation in non-traditional settings as a training tool for sales, customer service and effective communication.

They started with other Gulf Coast State College students such as those in the fields of physical therapy and micro-biology.

The theatre students served as simulated patients to help train the students entering the medical field.

After these exercises proved successful, Hedden proposed to his fellow chamber members an opportunity to partner with them in their prospective businesses and several took him up on the offer.

A local retail establishment had the theatre students do some “secret shopping” and helped the shop owner improve the quality of experience for their customers.

In addition, after being ignited with Hedden’s enthusiasm at IdeaCamp, two Real Estate companies also signed up for the opportunity.  Both Keller Williams Success Realty and Beachy Beach Real Estate had welcomed the students in their offices for simulated buyer and seller meetings.

This IdeaCamp success story is proof that cool things happen when people get together to share, learn and network in a no pressure setting.  The next IdeaCamp is scheduled for Nov. 21st from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Panama City Beach.  The event is FREE to Panama City Beach Chamber members and includes light eats, a free drink ticket for up to 50 participants and an opportunity to win door prizes like swag from local businesses or even a FREE ROUND TRIP flight from Southwest Airlines.

To register for the next IdeaCamp, click HERE or visit their FACEBOOK page to stay up to date with Ideacamp happenings.

If your business or organization is interested in the “Rehearsal for Reality” project with Gulf Coast Theatre students, contact Jason Hedden at or 850-769-1551 ext 2889

You can also catch the Gulf Coast Theatre Department live in action starting this upcoming Friday the 15th for their opening weekend of the hit musical Les Miserables.  To buy tickets and to learn more about the theatre department, you can visit the website or stay tuned to their FACEBOOK page.





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1 Comment


1 Karen Smith November 16, 2013 at 8:59 am

We had so much fun having The Gulf Coast Theater Students at our office and I know that Carrie at Keller Williams felt the same way. When you bring people together and join forces with intellect and enthusiasm and creativity BIG things happen. I love love love my involvement with Idea Camp and all the great things that come because of it. I highly encourage anyone who has not bee to take part in our once a month Thursday event….. you will leave invigorated and excited about your business and be filled with ideas.