Playback Theatre is spontaneous, experimental theatre developed in the 1970s by Jonathan Fox.
Playback is theatre created through a unique collaboration between performers and audience. An audience member tells a story or moment from their life; it may be in the past, present or future. It could be about a very special time or about something that can happen during the everyday. There is no script, but there is a rhythm and sequence to a Playback Theatre performance which is led by the Conductor. An audience member chooses actors to play the different roles within their story then watches as the actors perform their story immediately, recreating the event whiles creating artistic shape and coherence. Very few props are used -dyed cloth, a chair or a table -The re-enactment is performed through movement, sound, dance, and song; music is also included to set the mood during the performance.
Ritual, art and social interaction
A fundamental aspect of Playback Theatre is in its attention to social interaction. The ritual and artistic response is only meaningful when there is a good cognisance of the whole group experience. This theatre form is an indirect service to healing, relationships, communication and understanding between people. This is an underlying value, so the conductor interacts directly with the audience with respect and human warmth, and is sensitive to the larger social context of the Playback event. By listening to personal stories we feel and weave the deeper web of our story as a community of people and thus tap into the collective and universal experience. Social change and transformation begins here, as we make space for the stories of the community, through individual voices, and are affected by them.
Playback Theatre is inclusive and accessible to all
Playback performers are a collective who listen, allow intuition and inspiration to arise, trust and support each other to call upon their innate personal wisdom and experience. They come from many different backgrounds which makes the performances all the more enriched.