Saturday, July 9, 2011

Playback Theater

I first learned about Playback Theater while in an anti-bullying workshop given by Stan Davis and was intrigued from the start. Here is what Playbacktheatre.org says about it:

About Playback Theatre

Interactive and spontaneous, playback theatre bases its material on the stories of the community. In theatres, workshops, and a wide range of educational and organizational settings, Playback Theatre draws people together and allows fresh perspectives.

Performances are carried out by a team of actors, emcee (called the conductor), and musician. As the show begins, audience members respond to questions from the conductor, then watch as actors and musician create brief theatre pieces on the spot. Later, volunteers from the audience come to the stage to tell longer stories, choosing actors to play the main roles. Although performances often focus on a theme of interest or concern, the performers follow no narrative agenda, but bring their dramatic skills and their humanity to embodying on the stage the concerns and experiences of audience members.

Playback theatre is practiced in over 50 countries


It sounds like an interesting theater experience, but the best part is the way that it is used. Here is more from the website.

How It’s Used

Playback theatre, based on the stories of audience members enacted on the spot, promotes the right for any voice to be heard, brings group concerns to the surface, and stimulates a dialogue by making different perspectives visible. The method is extremely flexible, since there is no set play, and can adapt to the needs of many kinds of groups and organizations.

Playback theatre is used in schools, private sector organizations, nonprofit organizations,  prisons, hospice centres, day treatment centres, at conferences of all kinds, and colleges and universities.

Playback theatre has also been used in the following fields: transitional justice, human rights, refugees and immigrants, disaster recovery,  climate change, birthdays and weddings, and conferences.

For information on a specific application, contact the Centre  for Playback Theatre, or a playback theatre company near you.

The one sentence "promotes the right for any voice to be heard," sticks with me and really makes me want to learn more about this incredible sounding experience called Playback Theater.

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