Words from the Editor – Simon Floodgate
John Paul Lederach (2005), referencing Kenneth Yasuda on the Japanese Haiku, in his discussion of the art of social change, reflects that the haiku moment,
“…happens with the appearance of resonance. Something resonates deeply. It connects. What it connects is the eternity of truth with the immediacy of experience. He calls this “ah-ness,” which I might render in my experience as the “ah-hah” moment, the “I see exactly what you mean."
Lederach (2005, p.68)
In this second edition of the IPTN Journal there are a range of articles and gathering/conference reports that I hope resonate with you, the reader. It has been a privilege for me to read and support the writers of the contributions to this edition.
The articles covering the diverse experiences of Nepalese reconciliation (Anne Dirnstorfer), in Norwegian schools (Audun & Børge Kristofferson) and in the South West of England with muslim women asylum seekers and refugees (Kate Glover & Annie Mitchell), yet again remind us of the importance of Playback within the world.
The reports on gatherings in Brazil and Asia along with news on the networks in Germany and the USA and Canada, both inspire and warm the heart in equal measure.
Call for submissions for next edition: June 17th, 2016.
Conflict at conferences
A letter to the IPTN community
By Jonathan Fox
Dear colleagues and playback theatre conference organizers,
The last European Playback Theatre conference, which took place in Amsterdam, began with a fantastic mix of national melodies enabling participants from over 30 countries to stand and identify themselves. It was a joyous moment, as groups danced exuberantly to their national music, embodying the excitement we always feel when we hold international playback meetings.
The organizers also asked Jo Salas and me to conduct a half-hour segment of playback theatre focusing on the conference theme—active citizenship. This playback segment turned out to be surprisingly contentious. What shot to the surface were a series of emotional-laden moments pointing to inter- and intra-national conflicts.
Afterwards, many people, both those who had told, but not had time to tell fully, and those who were not given a chance to tell, felt dissatisfied.
I’ve been thinking about that opening ever since. Playback theatre’s reach is now so broad, extending fingers throughout the globe, that we may hold very different narratives about each other. The differences can lead to hard feelings.
The Amsterdam conference is just an example. Lately many of our gatherings have been shaken by eruptions of conflict. In my view we are often unprepared for them. In fact, I would say that in general playback performers and conductors are not well trained to handle contentious stories.
The purpose of this letter is to offer some suggestions for dealing with this issue. It will not be easy, but I see it as an opportunity to become clear on how we can manage conflict in playback theatre and thus deepen its overall usefulness and power...
begins Friday 3 June and finishes Monday 20 June, 2016.
Conflict at Conferences
Click on the pink heading to check out the details about the hub and registration now.
Women’s narratives of attending Playback Theatre for refugees and asylum seekers: towards new ways of seeing, feeling and being with others.
Kate Glover^, Annie Mitchell^,*Jacqui Stedmon^, Alison Fairlove*, Amanda Brown*
^ University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
* Tarte Noire Women’s Playback Theatre Company, Totnes, UK
This research explored the stories of Arabic Muslim women who attended Playback Theatre (PT) sessions within a women’s community group in a service for asylum seekers and refugees. Eight semi-structured interviews were analysed using narrative methodology. Five themes were identified: ‘deciding whether to tell’, ‘sharing stories’, ‘empathy and understanding’, ‘emotional release’, and ‘personal growth’. The analysis focused on the ‘personal growth’ theme, which included reflections on cultural issues and comprised three sub-themes: new ways of seeing, feeling differently, new ways of being with others. We noted links between what happens in PT and what is thought to be effective in established therapies and argue that PT can make a positive contribution to asylum seeker and refugee women and their wider communities. For the women within the current research, it seemed that Playback enactments shifted the told story from an individual to a shared representational context which fostered personal growth and shared connections which were experienced as positive and beneficial. This highlighted the potential value of community interventions outside of clinical settings.
Key words: Playback Theatre, community psychology, refugees, asylum seekers, narrative research
Playback Theatre in Brazil: a path towards the Gathering
A Report of the 1st Brazilian Playback Theatre Gathering
Clarice Steil Siewert*
(with the support of many participants of the Gathering)
Translated by Sheila Donio
Playback Theatre was brought to Brazil in 1998 and the pioneer company was São Paulo Playback Theatre. It was also in São Paulo that the 2007 International Conference took place. By then there were few active companies in the country (located in São Paulo, Curitiba, and Brasília), and the Conference did not mark a gathering between the Brazilian playbackers themselves.
But little by little the need to meet one another increased. At the end of 2007, right after the Conference, Rea Dennis went back to São Paulo to strengthen the connections of local playbackers in the big city. In 2008, during its training process, Dionisos Teatro from Joinville organized a class also with Rea, and with Magda Miranda. In that class, practitioners from Curitiba, Florianópolis, and Joinville started to share their knowledge. Another step towards this Gathering was the International Conference in Frankfurt, in 2011. There, the company Nhemaria, from São Paulo, did a performance full of Brazilian seasoning, gathering everyone around a pot of Brigadeiro so this typical chocolate dessert, as well as the personal stories, could be shared with people from the other 32 countries. That was a moment to look at each other and notice that the number of groups was increasing, just as their aesthetic diversity and applications.
Playback Theatre on wartime experiences in Nepal
......My idea to design a Playback Theatre project for working on reconciliation in Nepal had been on my mind for a long time, but it had needed to ripen. I did not want to lead one-time workshops for people who might then not use the approach. I wanted to design a comprehensive peacebuilding project that would give space for long-term change. I felt that Playback is quite complex to learn for actors, and also challenging for them when the stories carry a lot of traumatic weight. So the project had to address different needs.
How would I guarantee a proper set up?
How would I make sure that the actors were able to enact the stories with the right dignity and respect?
How could we avoid potential spoilers to hinder us from addressing the violent past?
How would I guarantee that there was a supportive framework that would avoid re-traumatization or secondary trauma?
All these questions were shaping my thoughts. My vision was that locally initiated Playback Theatre dialogues would contribute to the social cohesion at community level. A bottom-up reconciliation process based on personal sharing and acknowledging could start from the grassroots level and would support the communities even when the national-level truth-finding process remained unsatisfying. It would address the need to reconnect in the community.
Playback Theatre in elementary school
Børge Kristoffersen and Audun Mollan Kristoffersen
Mariam was in the fourth grade and was the only one of the twenty students who wore a hijab. Now she talked about her dream day. A Playback Theatre (PT) company with actors and musician stood on the playing space in the classroom, a rack of silk cloth in all colours to use in the play were also there and Mariam sat on her chair and had a dialogue with the conductor. The theme of the performance was No one left on the outside, a programme initiated by Save the Children that builds on children's rights around participation and solidarity, a topic that is in the fourth grade curriculum. The programme seeks to encourage an inclusive school environment and seeks to increase solidarity with children from other countries. In one of the No one left on the outside booklets this is about being involved, to be seen, heard and respected, and not to be left out in friendship and play (Redd Barna, 2006). In advance for the performance, the class had worked with the student manual: No one left on the outside games. The booklet shows games that are being played by children from different parts of the world. One of the games described is called Dream Play-Day. It begins with the following: "Imagine if you could get a dream play-day! A day where you can do whatever you want, with whomever you want! What would you do then?” Now it was Mariam who found herself in the teller’s chair telling about her dream day...
German-speaking Network, PTN e.V., celebrates 10th Birthday with a Newsletter
To celebrate the 10th birthday of the PTN e.V. president Marlies Arping has masterminded a special newsletter issue (in German) paying tribute to the story and achievements of the PTN e.V. and its members, informing of current or recent projects around the regions and internationally, as well as notice of upcoming events and resources. http://www.playbacktheaternetzwerk.de/newsletter.html
Playbackers everywhere will be interested in the reports of work being done - with refugees and asylum seekers (Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin, Switzerland), dementia (Austria and Switzerland) or life story work (Frankfurt - transcultural), Kassel (schools).
At the Asia Pacific Playback Theatre Conference in Hong Kong
25 November to 1 December 2015
Warm memories and images...
Inspiring developments in Playback Theatre by our colleagues in Asia.
The recent Asia Pacific Playback Theatre Conference was hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs Association in Hong Kong (a major social and youth work NGO) from 25 Nov to 1 Dec, 2015 in Hong Kong.
Eddie Yu, with his Encounter Playback Theatre group, led the team which created APPTC 2015 with the support of the Boys & Girls Clubs Association in Hong Kong. (BGCA)
Playbackers from Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, UK & USA, joined the Hong Kong playback theatre community for two-days of pre- & post-conference trainings, plus the intense three day weekend of the conference itself.
Agnes Law and Veronica Needa were special guests, delivering pre- and post-conference trainings and the keynote at the opening.
In the Playback Theater (PT) training community, there are certain techniques and guidelines to teach short forms. Yet, when approaching Scenes (Lubrani Rolnik, 2009; Salas, 1999), open long-form enactments in PT, clear guidelines are lacking and a deeper structure for teaching and enacting this important element of the PT ritual could be beneficial.
This paper presents a model of the long-form PT Scene. It begins with a general typology of stories that can assist in deciding which PT form best suits which story. Then The Three Dimensional Diamond (3DD) Model for Scenes will be presented...
In our (mostly happy) bubble: So easy to focus on just what’s in front of us. Sure, those of us in our local troupe knew of the Playback community -- several of us had gone to Playback Centre trainings or an IPTN gathering. But we were busy in our lives and engrossed in our local work (both the ups and downs). Hard to think to connect with Playback colleagues.
But we kept bumping into limitations in how to meet our company’s desires or needs, like:
● Can our work have bigger impact?
● How to make a more beautiful and effective website? How to develop stronger promo materials?
● How could we bring in more income? Present what we do effectively to higher paying clients? How to write a kickass fundraising proposal?
Wondering, how can we avoid reinventing the wheel? Where might we find
● Inspiration and helpful role models?
● Good ideas for how to save precious time?
● Sample promo and business materials we can use?
Happily, two of us, founding members of our company, have travelled a fair amount for our other work. Wherever we go we look to see if there is a Playback group to visit. So lovely to rehearse with over two dozen companies and exchange artistic practices, and then compare notes about business and company development. Sometimes we brought a few companies together in the same area. They told us they rarely saw each other... The force of those bubbles!
Would other companies and practitioners enjoy the benefits of exchange of ideas (like we had) if it were more convenient?...
Reviewer: José Marques
According to Siewert, this book followed from her research into Playback Theatre (PT), carried out as part of her Masters in Theatre at the University of the State of Santa Catarina. Her supervisor, Professor Marcia Nogueira, states in the preface that at that time, PT was little known in Brazil and that this was a reason for writing the text. And in her introduction, the author says that she wrote the book in response to a growing demand in Brazil for knowledge about PT.
That being the aim of the author, I would say that the book is a most welcome addition to the PT literature available in the Portuguese language. As far as I am aware, the only other comprehensive text available in this language is a translation of Jo Salas’ Improvising Real Life first published in 1993 (Editora Agora, 2000). In particular, Siewert’s book makes accessible, to the Portuguese language reader, some the most significant literature written about PT, with substantial references made to Salas’s text as well as to Jonathan Fox’s Acts of Service (Tusitala, 2003) and Nick Rowe’s Playing the Other (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007). She also appropriately draws on other literature where necessary.
The question then arises whether this book contributes anything new to the literature already available in the English language...
Zagryazhskaya, E and Zagryazhskaya, Z (Eds.), (2015). Playback theatre practice: selected articles. Vash
Poligraphichelskiy Partner: Moscow
PLAYBACK THEATRE PRACTICE: SELECTED ARTICLES is a new book about Playback Theatre recently published in English.
This book is a new collection of articles about Playback Theatre. The book includes articles about applications of Playback Theatre in different spheres of life (business, society, education, psychotherapy and rehabilitation). The book discusses the main skills of Playback Theatre practitioners (conducting, acting, making music, performing) and proposes exercises to develop these skills. The articles are written by authors from 18 countries (USA, Great Britain, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, China, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Portugal), who share their experience of Playback Theatre practice. This book is for Playback Theatre practitioners and for anyone interested in Playback Theatre, its work and application!
|International Playback Theatre Network|