Greetings from Robert Stocks, Chair of InterPlay Australia

Robert was re elected at the AGM in September to be the fourth Chair of the InterPlay Australia Board

Robert is well qualified to take on the role of Chair having been on the Board for the last 5 years and involved with the Interplay community for many years. For a personal profile of Robert, as recently published in the Leaders Circle newsletter .....

I was first introduced to InterPlay by Susanna Pain back in the late 1990s with Allegra, my partner. We took to it like ducks to water! It is a great way to let off steam and manage the day-to-day stress we accumulate. ‘Exformation’ was a wonderful form to experience.

After Susanna left Adelaide all was quiet on the InterPlay front in Adelaide until I met Trish Fairley who was literally raving about this great thing called InterPlay. Allegra and I re-engaged with the Adelaide community and our lives have not been the same since.

Early on we completed Secrets and Life Practice with Rod P and Trish W - and have developed wonderful relationships with our Life Practice Peers, who still remain close friends.

We have found InterPlay impacting in different parts of our lives including:

  • Raising two beautiful children who have grown into giant teenagers (giant energy wise anyway
  • SummerPlays in Sydney, giving us a break from raising children, where we could re-engage like adults and play like kids.
  • Communicating as a couple – to catch up and blurt and gibber after a busy day (Allegra says InterPlay is efficient).
  • Particularly helpful when we don’t share the same perspective and struggle to reconcile our differing views.
  • InterPlay forms as part of training programs in business (eg team building exercise using 90% InterPlay forms with varying degrees of success.)
  • Focus sessions (teaching how to run focus sessions with Trish Fairley)

I have led many workshops and playgroups in Adelaide, but also in Sydney and Canberra, co led Life Practice programs, and led workshops in Alice Springs and SummerPlay in Sydney in 2016. I had the “joy” and excitement of organising the first Leaders Gathering in Adelaide and remember being tossed into the air by happy and excited attendees in appreciation. After inspirational SummerPlays with Phil Porter and Cynthia, Rod and Trish, Masanko and other Leaders a few of us including Allegra, Tony Hole, Lizzie Emmanuelle and Paul Flannigan were inspired to create Playing with Edges, our Adelaide improvisation performance group which has evolved and been going strong for many years.

This is the second time I have served on the Board and as I commit to this role of Chair I thank Trish Fairley for creating a great Board Team. We also have other fabulous people (including Jenny Batten as Leaders Circle Coordinator), as Leaders volunteering their time and talents nationally and locally to give us a vibrant community. Our super staff Steph Gesling (who is leaving), Euan and now Sue Sheridan keep the communication and administration flowing seamlessly.

My paid work is building trust in organisations, and that is my desire for InterPlay Australia – as we continue playing and co-creating together. I believe in ‘InterPlay with intention’, and I am passionate about exploring our strategic directions, especially in relation to arts and social change. NZ workshops are on my bucket list, (has nothing to do with my passion for rugby).

Critical to this is my desire to keep playing and connecting to care for self and building deeper communities of sharing. I am so appreciative to Phil and Cynthia, Rod, Trish, Susanna, all our past board members, our regional contacts and event coordinators and all the people who established and helped InterPlay to flourish in Australia and New Zealand. It has become a fundamental part of my spiritual practice and allows me to have a light focus and remember to not take things or myself too seriously.

InterPlay continues to teach me to always remember to play and share it with community.

The article was first published in Holding Space #4