International Playback Camp 2017
Official website and registration: http://playbackcamp.com
Every year the Camp has a theme that we explore together. Playback people come from more than from 15 countries. This year we already have South Africa, Canada, Syria, Lebanon, US, Peru, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, UK etc.
Since our playback community is growing and we are taking more and more responsibility to work with a special communities and needs and just as an ART around the world we need to learn more and improve our skills towards the contemporary society to make a Playback a real tool for social transformation.
It’s a field where we can meet to create an open dialogue. A microcosm of the world we live in and a multicultural and intersectional crossroad of the Global PT community. How we can grow in our interconnection and examine our hearts for who we really are and if we can connect our values with what we do and co-create.
Meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds are an enriching experience and the chance for us to grow. From knowing comes care and from care comes change and being together and with our community is the most powerful place for us to be.
Special thanks to IPTN who provided scholarships in the past for those in need and will do so again this year to give the opportunity for everyone to be included in global community and change.
You can see our movie from last year here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtfFOVd8sTY&feature=youtu.be
Founder of the Annual Project: The International Playback Theatre Camp
By Fayez M. Aldandashi (Syria)
It all started when I arrived there (The lovely Bulgaria) on the way from the airport to the hotel I had the feeling of being home, everything was familiar.
I went to my room with my roommate and we found a personal letter on each bed, it was a deep warm welcome. Next day the journey of meeting the entire world started with sharing some cultural music and\or snacks. I had to represent my country Syria by myself which was a big responsibility, but it felt amazing.
Before I went to this camp I was lost in my head for couple of months, not knowing what to do or where to go and a lot of questions storming inside my head not letting me rest. During the workshops I started stepping out of my comfort zone until some point where I had a fight inside me (letting go or stay inside my box) with the help of others and the atmosphere I reached a point where I could clear my head and let it rest. The workshops were a variety of different experiences which helped me learning new techniques and getting to know new ways of connecting and disconnecting. It was like a laboratory where I could pick and try different things.
I left at the end with a big package of techniques, experiences, emotions and goals. It gave me a big push and motivation to start my own group and to be more active.
I write this with the hope to be there again for 2018 camp and the hunger for more experiences and learning new things. I call it now my educative vacation.
By Victor Velchev (Bulgaria)
PT Camp diary
I hardly knew anyone at the camp and still everyone welcomed me as an old friend. We got together for a meeting and greeting session. There was an enthralling ritual that invoked the elements and planted seeds of love and hope.
In the evening we made a kind of international fair where everyone presented their country of origin. There was a lot of singing and dancing, playing games and storytelling. We tasted food and drinks. There was even a lottery with gifts!
Anastasia Vorobyeva and Olga Sanachina from Vozdukh project took us on a bold exploration of authentic movement. It involved some dynamic bodywork with many turns and twists. A couple of ingenious original forms were introduced to the group. The workshop finished with a short but powerful playback performance. So intense, it felt like a whole day!
Attending Sarah Urech's workshop in the afternoon felt like a homecoming after an adventure. It was pure joy! Playing, singing and having fun together, we quickly drew closer.
In the evening, we were offered four engaging presentations. Ulrike Krogmann described her applied theatre work with refugees in Germany. Sarah Urech shared some of her extensive experience of countering school bullying with Hudson River Playback Theatre. Next, Pontus Holmgren gave his top tips on conducting playback theatre performances for large audiences. Finally, Aviva Apel-Rosenthal offered her take on the craft and business of leading a playback theatre company.
One of the unforgettable moments was the nation-to-nation dialogue at the workshop of Anastasya Vorobyova. We made a map of the world with our bodies and everyone become a representative of their country. Then people were encouraged to make statements for their nations and give messages to others or to the world. It was an honest and painful exchange. Dormant historical traumas were uncovered. You could feel the tension in the air. Suddenly, strong wind appeared out of nowhere. A moment later, there was a raging tempest. The rain was falling hard and it was cold. It was like Nature resonated with our strain. The group drew together to keep warm, forming a circle. The discussion turned from the past nation-to-nation statements to an intense person-to-person exchange. People spoke from their hearts, expressing grief and reconciliation. It was beautiful to see it unfold. And it took gentle but fearless leadership to keep the fragile balance and bring out the quiet voices. Afterwards, we all shared our hopes and dreams for the future and weaved them together in a colorful tapestry. As we lied underneath, a song played, expressing just what I needed to hear. I was moved to tears and felt wounds healing.
I participated in Karin Gisler's signature workshop in the afternoon. It introduced a method of stage interaction that explores relationships through the use of space and distance. It serves to create rich and nuanced scenes by shifting focus between couples of characters.
Takeaway: Attune to your stage partners and influence each other.
I had the pleasure to join a wonderful team that prepared a surprise relaxing evening for everyone in the camp. So we took the love train to a place of tranquillity and mirth. Throughout the camp's duration we played the secret friends game. The goal is to make your secret friend happy without revealing your identity. My secret friends (I had two) were amazing: they turned me into a xmas tree, organized a cowboy competition just for me, made me a beautiful bracelet and a gave a thousand expressions of affection.
Our free day! Went swimming in the sea, then we visited the nearby town Nessebar.
In the evening there was a spectacular dream team performance by the camp trainers. Sarah Urech conducted with incomparable grace and sensitivity. The creativity, passion and synergy of the group, coupled with the warm friendly atmosphere turned the evening into an unforgettable experience.
Today we were "playing in the house of mirrors" with Aviva Apel-Rosenthal. We shared games and chants from our childhood. I was amazed to learn that a popular Bulgarian song was sung by children in Germany and Holland with the same melody, but with completely different lyrics. One was about playing soldiers, and the other - about a fantastic creature. It turns out that kids also play variations of the same games all over the world. In this fun and pleasant way we warmed up our memories of discovering the world, being with others and growing up. What followed was a compelling playback performance with stories about identity, loss and rejuvenation.
Takeaway: Turn the stage into a mirror in which everyone can see themselves.
In the afternoon Pontus Holmgren gave us the „keys to conducting (workshop). It was an intense experiential training combined with systematic introduction of theoretical concepts. We explored conductor's roles and qualities, how to engage the audience and interview the tellers, the importance of balancing polarities and being present. Everyone had the chance to conduct a piece in a small group and to receive feedback.
Takeaway: Try before you are ready and celebrate mistakes.
In the evening, there was a playback jam. A daring group of LGBT performers led by Jet Black enacted stories about sexuality, acceptance and rejection, about finding oneself and celebrating love. It was truly inspiring.
Genuine encounters, stage partnerships and collaborative improvisation were some of the main threads of Shirley Legum‘s workshop. We communicated without words, followed our bodily sensations and turned emotions into action. The live improvised music of Marat Mairovich added another dimension to the experience and poignantly showcased the conductor-actors-musician dynamic.
In Olga Sanachina's workshop in the afternoon we explored the social fabric of the self and areas of connection and disconnection. Some of the challenges we faced were: bringing out divisive topics and playing back stories of conflict and injustice.
In the evening, we had a wild party.
We worked in three groups led by Sarah Urech, Karin Gisler and Shirley Legum. It all culminated in the afternoon with a final playback performance. We were graced by the presence of Jonathan Fox who came to supervise a select group of trainers.
In the moving Closing ritual we shared gifts and compliments. We Gave thanks to each other and bid our farewells; a week in paradise. I had some of the best times of my life at the international playback camp. I felt so free, loved and accepted here. It was like finding a lost family. The community spirit was incredible! I never dreamed that such unity and understanding is even possible. Indeed, we were being connected. The Camp became a fateful chapter of my playback journey. I visited an island of vitality and bliss where I found true friends. We shared joy and sorrow, hope and tribulation. We laughed, we cried, we moved as one. Belonging to a community in which people genuinely care for each other and live together in harmony was a transformative experience. My heart grew bigger, my breath became lighter. My vision became sharper and my voice - clearer. My dreams became bolder and my wings grew stronger. Now I know that a better world is possible.
By Yanitsa Atanasova
The International Playback Theatre camp in the summer of 2017 brought many gifts to my life. I had many expectations that had nothing to do with the beautiful reality that happened with those magical people there. I am very grateful for this meeting, for this wisdom and understanding I felt at this camp. The knowledge I have gained has enriched my freedom of expression entirely, brought new insights and further reinforced my view that the world needs a hearing, needs a Playback Theatre, and that is a mission I would support all my life. I look forward to the next meeting! Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this whole love.
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