Playback Theatre for Conflict Transformation (579)

Ben Rivers

Explore the use of playback theatre techniques as a tool for community building and mobilization, cultural activism, collective trauma response, and conflict transformation. Playback Theatre is an interactive approach used in over 60 countries. Audience members share personal stories and watch as a team of actors and musicians transform their stories into improvised theatre pieces, building a network of related stories while at the same time respecting and validating each individual’s story within the whole.

You will learn and practice the basic methods and principles of Playback Theatre, focusing on its applicability in situations of conflict and trauma. The course will explore case examples from around the world, including Palestine, Afghanistan, post-earthquake Japan, and the bullying epidemic in American schools.

Develop your ability to identify “narrative cornerstones”, the central events, meanings and emotions that a “Teller” presents in their story. Cultivate ways to translate these “narrative cornerstones” into enactments rich in artistry, attunement, and effective ensemble work. In addition, participants will focus on key theatrical skills such as voice development, movement practice and improvisational skills.

The course will enable participants to apply elements of Playback Theatre within diverse group settings and contexts. Special consideration will be given to the practical and ethical dimensions of designing and delivering Playback Theatre projects within communities impacted by intractable conflict, structural oppression, natural disaster, and political violence. No theatre experience is necessary.

Syllabus