Dear Friends in Playback,
I was asked to send a video for the Leadership Graduates this year who will be graduating this weekend. I am honour to share this delightful moment of our Playback friends and hope this little speech would be a reminder to all of us who have been leaders in our communities for some time now to refresh and reflect. I thank all the leaders who have walked before me and those who are willing to walk with me now.
Here is the video
Below is the full transcript of my script which is in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. My apology for not being able to speak more different languages. But the purpose of the speech is written in a way so that everyone can get something in their own language without the need of translation.
English: I am sorry I can’t be there with you but Michael suggested a video and I am glad at least I can send you my blessings on your yet another Playback Theatre landmark.
English: I graduated from Leadership in 2004 and continued to share Playback Theatre to many different people. I use my own way, to the best knowledge I know how and with the experiences I have learnt from my mentors and other friends I have met in international gatherings and workshops.
廣東話：同我好多香港朋友唔同，我嘅開始，唔係Veronica ，我嘅第一個Playback 老師係澳洲嘅 Deborah Pearson，然後係Jo Salas，之後我就一直跟Bev Hosking，以佢為我Mentor。
國語：當Bev 跟Christian Penny還在辦夏天的課程時，我去過兩次。那兩次的經歷，對於我作為領袖，有很大的啟發，也定下了我自己的風格，還有我做一人一故事劇場的方向跟態度。
English: We all have a different starting point. We all have our own mentor who we look up to and consult at times of difficulty in our practice, especially during painful times in our companies or a dreadful feeling after a show we felt we didn’t deliver. I am lucky to have Bev Hosking. Up to this date, she has been my mentor and my dear friend. But the one person who teaches me how to be a leader, the one person who has given me the strength and courage I need to stay being a leader, is Christian Penny.
English: When I was at my lowest point in Playback and doubted if I should be a leader, Christian sat next to me and spoke to me gently. He asked me, “If you were not to move forward, would anyone do that?”I shook my head at the time. I was in a very tough spot in my company life at that time and just told the story before the coffee break. He then simply said, “Michele, do you know what a leader is?” I remained in silent. He continued, “A leader is the person who make the first move. When nobody is willing to do anything, the person who takes the first step becomes the leader. It is that simple.”
English: I will tell you this much. Being a leader is not easy. But finishing Leadership means you already have what a leader needs – the will to take the first step. I am sure you have all developed your own style during the past couple of weeks. I have no doubt you have a certain understanding of what Playback is and know that there will never be any perfect Playback. But other than what Christian told me that day, another thing I took with me is how he approached me. How gentle and soft he was when if you have taken his class you will know what a tough coach he is. The compassion he showed me. So when it comes to leadership, I am more worried about myself as a person, rather than the form.
English: When Francis passed away, many of us were shocked and felt sad. I still remember how Christian put his photo at where we were having our workshop that summer and I felt Francis’s presence as if he was guiding me in Manchester. I want to be that kind of leader, who inspired people in a way that is unforgettable.
English: The upcoming election of the President of United States of America is a great opportunity for us all to reflect on our own take on leadership. What kind of leader do I want to be? What are the responsibilities that come with it? With what was going on in Germany and the way how Angela Merkel still stands with refugees despite all the pressure, I am asking myself the same question every day – how do we see things clearly and response in a way that is fair? How far are am I willing to go for the sake of doing what is right instead of what makes me popular? How does Playback Theatre come into play in this world that needs excellent leadership more than ever? As a community, IPTN invites you to be part of us and join the discussion online to stimulate thoughts and allow all of us leaders to continue to grow together.
English: So, congratulations to you all my friends! I apologise I do not know how to speak German, Russian, Takalog, Hebrew and 台語 at all. Et mon francais est mal. Thank you for doing Playback Theatre and being willing to continue to sharing it. I wish you strong leadership and compassion in your practice and look forward to seeing you in different gatherings or workshop.
Oh, right. I am Michele from Hong Kong, the current president of IPTN. Ask Christian Faber about us if you don’t know what IPTN is. He is one of our board members too. Kisses and hugs.