Playback Theatre Ensemble

Autobiographical  Therapeutic Performance

Healing the Wounds of History

Counseling Collective


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About Playback Theatre

The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble was created over thirty years ago under the direction of psychotherapist and drama therapist Armand Volkas. In addition to countless public and privately commissioned performances, our Ensemble, in collaboration with The Healing the Wounds of History Project, has received international recognition for its work in transforming intercultural conflict.The Ensemble is affiliated with the International Playback Theatre Association.

What is Playback Theatre?

Playback Theatre is an original form of improvisational theatre in which audience members tell stories from their lives, and watch them enacted on the spot by a company of trained actors and musicians. In playback theatre performances, a Conductor awakens a range of perspectives and ideas offered by audience members. The performing ensemble then brings the audience’s stories to life in a way that is honoring, illuminating, and transformative. Sometimes a story becomes a myth, sometimes a realistic enactment; some stories are tragic, others are funny or illuminating. Playback Theatre affirms the importance and dignity of personal experience, enables people to view their lives in new ways, and draws people closer as they see their common humanity.

History of Playback Theatre

Playback Theatre was founded in 1975 by Jonathan Fox, Jo Salas, and their original company, in New Paltz, New York. They were influenced by experimental theatre, psychodrama, and the oral tradition of storytelling. Playback Theatre has since spread throughout the world, with hundreds of companies in over 50 countries.