With excitement and nervousness, I am honour to announce that I am the new president of International Playback Theatre Network. I would like to thank Juergen, our ex-president for leading us to where we are today so we can move on to the next phase. Below is a loose transcript of my speech during the closing of the IPTN Conference 2015 in Montreal and it would be my heartfelt words to share with you here as well as an introduction of myself and my vision in how I would like to lead the Network. Please feel free to contact myself to discuss anything you wish to see happening in the Network and on this website.
Transcript of speech:
I want to talk about names.
In western culture, names are to remember our ancestors and people we love. We were given names of our parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles.
In my culture, names are the specific hope/wish of our parents or grandparents of how they want us to become.
My Chinese name is 鍾勵君 (Chung Lai Kwan). 鍾 is my family name. 勵 means encouragement and 君 means people. So I was born to encourage people, to support people and to cheer for people.
And this is how I see my work with IPTN. As a network, we support each other, encourage each other and cheer for each other.
This is the 25th anniversary of our network. And I invite you to be part of us - to change the world through Playback Theatre. To change it by applying our listening skills to our daily lives and give voice to those around us. To change it by continuing to provide a regular inclusive platform for ALL to express and be creative in.
And to change the world, we have to start from the change within. As you all know, democracy is something I fight for every day in my hometown. Today, I challenge us all to walk the talk of democracy every second. I challenge us to not only enjoy the privilege we have or the rights we have reclaime through our century long fight for democracy. I challenge us to be the person who speaks up for marginalised communities when necessary. I challenge us to not point fingers at others being exclusive without the awareness of ourselves being not inclusive. Ecomonic exclusivity is social justice. LGBTQs and intersex people's rights are real. People with disabitlies have real rights. Black lives matter.
Most important of all, I challenge myself to change how the IPTN has been selecting its Board members since 25 years ago.
We are most thankful for Jonathan and Jo to have started the IPTN. I want to take this opportunity to honour and thank the first Board. They are:
Mary Good who was the President
Christina Hagelthorn as the Vice President
Jo Salas was the secretary
Elise Gold was the Treasurer
And other members include Tim Van Ness, Judy Swallow and Jonathan himself.
Today, we move on to a new stage. As most you return home from this conference this afternoon, the Board will continue to stay for two more days to meet about the change of method to elect our next Board. And I will personally be keeping you all updated provided that you have renewed your membership or join the network and we have your correct email addresses.
Democracy is about many. So it's not a one way road. But if you do not communicate with us, we can never meet each other in the middle. To meet, we need a space. The new website: www.iptn.info is one place. And there will be conferences and regional gatherings as well.
People have asked me why do I need to pay a membership fee? What is the money for? I can tell you that a whole chunk goes to the website so be sure you will log on to it more often, read those articles and comment on them to exchange. Then we provide the seed money, which comes from your membership fee, to the conference organiser here so they could start off the process. We do the same to regional gatherings as well. There is a budget of seed money to support that. Then some of your money support Board members and regional representatives to attend these conferences and meetings. And of course, there are also scolarships for people to come to these conferences and gatherings.
After this conference, our financial reports and minutes will be posted online for you to see. It will be a members only zone so you will, again, need to make sure you have joined the network or renewed your membership.
All Board members are volunteers and for the past few years, they have devoted a lot of energy and time to support the development of the network. I would like to invite them to come to the front and give them a big thank you, especially to those who are stepping down:
Juergen Schoo (President), Mountaine Jonas (Treasurer), Karin Gisler (Membership and Business Development) and Eddie Yu (Website Development).
The New Board is as follow:
Michele Chung (President)
Jori Pitkänen (Vice President)
Kerry Williams (Secretary)
Amanda Brown (IPTN Journal Liason)
Brian Tasker (Membership and Business Development)
Nurit Shosan (Borad Member)
I would like to thank our IPTN Journal editor Simon Floodgate from UK to have put together this issue of Journal. And many thanks to Rea Dennis, Nick Rowe and many others before them who have helped to edited the Interplay before.
Michele Chung (Hong Kong)