2018-2020 teleconferences

Houston Playback Theatre, used with permission

Sharing back from the IPTN conference in India
Thurs. January 9, 2020

Teaching Playback…and the new Guide to teaching Playback Theatre
Tues. January 28, 2020
Playback is spread by many teachers who give people a good experience of trying.  Are you teaching or might you wish to?  What would you like to learn from other Playback teachers or useful lessons you might share?

For men in Playback
Thurs. February 6, 2020
This call is by and for men (self-identified) who are active in Playback …a space for sharing our experience together

Choosing (and exploring) juicy topics for shows
Thurs. February 27, 2020
We’ll explore different show topics that have been rich for Playback, how we picked them, as well as topics that weren’t as rich and why we think they didn’t work as well.  We’ll also explore how we prepared to mine what was most rich in the topic, prior to the show as well as during the show.

Growing old–and still doing Playback
Thursday March 12, 2020
How do we support aging troupe members (some of whom might be ourselves) over time as we face challenges of aging?  How do we be attentive to issues like difficulty hearing, memory challenges, various physical limitations, but support team mates to still play?

Responding to the Coronavirus emergency
Sunday March 15

How can we, as Playback practitioners, be a force for connection in this time of global anxiety and required social distancing?  We will do Playback for each other on the call, learn from those of us who have already done virtual Playback, and envision together ways we might use virtual Playback to serve our companies and  communities.  The video call will be recorded and shared by email with other PNA members–so joining the call is giving your consent for being recorded.  Please join with computer, tablet, or phone with video so we can see each other (which can help with the feeling of connection).

Virtual Playback –at the time of the Coronavirus pandemic- Part 2
Wednesday April 1

How can we, as Playback practitioners, be a force for connection in this time of global anxiety and required social distancing?  We will do Playback for each other on the call, learn from those of us who have already done virtual Playback, and envision together ways we might use virtual Playback to serve our companies and  communities. 

Community-building call
Tuesday April 7
Inspired and tantalized by having over 40 people from 26 Playback companies signup for the April 1st call, we’re designing this call for PNA members just to get to know each other better. Over the hour, you’ll get to be in a series of breakouts rooms (with 3-5 people per “room”) to do Playback for each other and share about your Playback company or experience.

Learning/teaching online Playback at the time of the pandemic
Tuesday April 14

How can we do effective Playback performances online?  We are working on a 4-6 page guide for PNA member companies that want to offer online Playback to their communities during the pandemic.  In the first half of this call, we’ll review the guide together and hear questions, comments and suggestions.  In the second half, we’ll do Playback together, especially hearing the experiences of any companies that have been doing online performances. 

Requests to help the call be successful: (1) only 2 members per company, (2) Join the call only on a device with working video, (3) Set up in a space that’s quiet and well-lit, (4) read through the draft guide ahead of the call.

Skills for online conducting (for conductors only)
Thursday April 23
How is conducting online different from conducting in person?  How might the conductor engage and train a “host” (who handles the video controls) for greater ease and focus during online Playback?  What are tips about conducting with tellers who are sharing their feelings about the pandemic?

Skills for online acting
Monday May 4
How is acting different online?  How create effective scenes?  How bring home deep feelings and themes in a story?  We’ll be experimenting with some feedback of things to try.

Special opportunities of online Playback
Thurs. May 14
Doing Playback online gives you an opportunity to play differently.  For example: you can use distance from the camera, the physical environment, move the camera around, props as metaphor, special lighting, video recording and editing afterwards.  We’ll learn from companies with experience in these techniques and explore them ourselves on the call.

The experience of Playback practitioners under age 35
Wednesday May 20
What are the issues, concerns, and interests of young playback artists in your troupe? How are age differences acknowledged in your group?  If we want to increase the age diversity in our companies, how do we do that?
Moderated by Franci DuMar, age 22, who has been a Playback practitioner since age 10

Skills for building community & audience engagement online
Tuesday May 26
How do we stay connected to our online audience and help them feel connected to each other?  What works and what doesn’t?  How do we decide what size and type of audience is desirable?

Acting in SCENES online
Thursday June 4
Doing scenes online can be challenging.  In this mini-workshop we’ll explore how to do them effectively.

Doing online Playback – clinic
Wednesday June 10
This call is for people who have performed in at least one online show or who are preparing to do one soon. Separate breakouts will be offered for conductors, hosts, actors, and musicians.  Please bring a question about doing Playback online or useful learning to share with others.

Addressing the climate crisis and justice
Thursday June 18
How use Playback sensitively to help people process deep feelings about the climate crisis and learn from stories of activism?
Co-moderated by Amy Tai: activist with Mothers out front

BIPoC support group
by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in Playback
Wednesdays: June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 2, 7-8:30pm (eastern time)

This call is by and for BIPoC people to process deep feelings about the world we’re living in through conversation and Playback Theatre.
*Wed. August 5 (moderated by Tonia Pinheiro) Please sign up here
*Wed. August 19 (moderated by Lucy Lu)  Please sign up here
* Wed. September 2 (moderated by Darrick Jackson) Please sign up here

White support group
by and for white people in Playback
Thursday July 2, July 9, July 30, August 13, September 17 (7-8:30pm eastern time)

Most of the time will be in two breakout groups doing Playback.  We will focus on what comes up for us as white people when we are called to do Playback on racism.

*Thurs. July 2 (co-moderated by Heidi Winters Vogel and Tonya Osinkosky)
*Thurs. July 9 (co-moderated by Clarissa Worcester and Christopher Ellinger)
*Thurs. July 30 (co-moderated by Clarissa Worcester and Mary Elizabeth Wheeler)  Please sign up here.
*Thurs. August 13 (moderated by Clarissa Worcester) Please sign up here.
*Thurs. September 17,  (moderated by Mary Elizabeth Wheeler)  Please sign up here.

Playback Poetry: A Creative Writing Workshop with Kelly DuMar
Wednesday September 16, 8-9:15pm (eastern time)
Enjoy writing exercises using prompts based on Playback Theatre structures.
We’ll create and share poetry on the call as well as take away new writing tools.
Bring personal photos to inspire poems from Playback Theatre structures. Please sign up here.
Run by Kelly DuMar, Sherborn, MA, poet, playwright, writing facilitator, Playbacker

Drop-in weekly teleconferences:  UnConference Q&A
Have questions or ideas about the UnConference?  Need assistance setting up a session?  Want to play a role in the gathering?  Weekly until the UnConference starts, we’ll be available for your questions and to plan together.  Come for whatever amount of time you wish.
Register here for any of the calls below.
Four Wednesdays in October: 7th, 14th, 21st, 28,  7-8pm eastern time
Two Wednesdays in November: 4th, 11th, 7-8pm eastern time

PAST – 2019 Teleconferences

Supporting Playback companies to be successful
January 30, 2019
What elements go into making a successful and resilient Playback company?
What have companies learned to make themselves stronger over time?

Learning about the IPTN conference in Bengaleru, India
February 7, 2019
What would you like to learn about the international conference December 4-8, 2019?
Presenter: Rajesh P I from the host committee will share what is planned so far and be available to answer your questions.

The heart of a story…what is it and how do we listen for it?
March 21, 2019
What is most important for the conductor…and the performers to listen to?  How do we reach past the details into what is most meaningful…both for the teller and for audience members?  On this call we will explore different ideas about this as well as share strategies for how we listen.

Teaching Playback
Wed. April 24, 2019
It can be very rewarding to teach elements of Playback to people who are unlikely to ever join a Playback company. Open to anyone who has taught or might consider it. We’ll share what contexts have been satisfying for introducing Playback, things we’ve learned about teaching Playback effectively to non-actors, and simple ways to get started.

Conductors’ Peer Clinic
Tues. May 21, 2019
Bring a question or issue you have as a conductor, or just come to support others. This call is just for conductors. All levels of experience welcome.

Bringing social forces into enactments
Wed. June 19, 2019
What are different ways to show social forces in Playback within different forms?

When a traumatic story arises…
Thurs. July 18, 2019
How do we take care of all of us (tellers, audience, actors) and do justice to a difficult story?

Checking back with the teller
Thurs. Aug. 1, 2019

We’ll be exploring a critical part of the PBT ritual that may not be given its due: After the enactment, how can we enable the teller to feel more fully heard and to come to good closure?  What do we do when the teller is not satisfied–or you suspect they are not?

Combining Playback Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed for Social Justice
Thurs. August 22

Presenters: Hannah Fox, Founder of Big Apple Playback (NY) and Marc Weinblatt, Poetic Justice Theatre Ensemble, Port Townsend, WA.

Where do Playback Theatre (PT) and Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) meet and where do they diverge? How can practitioners use these methods in tandem to address communities in conflict and a turbulent society?  We will begin with presentations from Hannah and Marc as they offer a glimpse of their personal backgrounds with PT and TO, share examples of how they combine the two forms, and the power of applying these forms for social justice.

Ethics of Identity in Playback Conducting
Thurs. October 17, 2019, 8-9:15pm (eastern time)
We will delve into questions such as:
* How do elements of the conductor’s personal visible identities effect which communities share their stories (or don’t share)?
* What elements of a conductor’s identities make them more or less effective with particular audiences?
* What are the ethical questions around representation in particular communities?
* What is your company doing to address ethical issues around conducting?
Co-facilitated by members of Big Apple Playback, New York

Starting (or re-starting) a Playback company
Wed. October 30, 2019


PAST – 2018 Teleconferences

Playback after traumatic community events
Thursday January 18, 2018
Guest presenters: Susan Evans and William Layman, co-founders of the Firestorm Players; Ramiro Salas, Houston Playback Theatre; and Anne-Liese Fox, NOLA Playback Theatre

Peer Clinic on Starting (or re-starting) a Playback Company
Thursday February 15, 2018

Conductors’ Clinic exchange among new and experienced conductors
NEW DATE: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Moderator: Christopher Ellinger, True Story Theater

Making rehearsals satisfying and productive: what have we learned?
Wednesday April 4, 2018
Moderator: Amber Espar, True Story Theater

Playback Theatre in Cuba
Wednesday April 25, 2018

Presenters: Susan Metz (Brookline, NY) and Deb Scott (Asheville, NC)

Musicians’ Clinic: support for less experienced Playback musicians
Tuesday May 8, 2018

Moderator: Tonia Pinheiro, True Story Theater

Queer Playback
for queer people doing Playback, and their allies.
Thursday June 7, 2018
Presenter: Mountaine Jonas,  Longtime Queer Playback activist
Let’s brainstorm queer playback. How can LGBTQ+ playbackers help to educate our playback allies on sensitivity to queer issues? What special skills may be needed, if any, to honor our stories? How can we be honest about our sexual identities, with playbackers as well as audiences, while acknowledging our common humanity with all people? How can we be pro-active in finding queer audiences that will benefit from playback?

Spreading core qualities of Playback via the practice of “embodied empathy”
Tues. September 25, 2018

Presenters: Christopher Ellinger, True Story Theater and David Jan Jurasek, Inspired Playback Theatre
So few people have the time, energy, and skill to start or to even to join a Playback company.  Yet so many people could get joy and satisfaction from practicing a core element of Playback: creative, embodied empathy.  Learn from others’ experience looking to make Playback skills accessible and integrated into daily life and work.  What have you done along these lines, and/or what might you like to try?

Playback Theatre interwoven with other modalities
Wed. October 17, 2018

Presenter: Nisha Sajnani, Director of the Drama Therapy Program at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University
How can Playback be complemented or strengthened by other modalities of drama therapy or improvisation?  Learn from Nisha’s experience and questions and offer our own.

Healing History’s Wounds:
Transforming Intercultural Conflict and Generational Trauma through Playback
Wed. November 28, 2018

Armand Volkas, director of Living Arts Playback, Oakland, CA
Virginia Murphy, director of Playback Memphis, Memphis, TN

How can Playback be used to help address deep social wounds that go back over generations? What are cautions and tips about how to do sensitive work like this from two Playback leaders who have substantial experience?