Sign up for 2019-2020 teleconferences

Unlimited teleconferences are free for all PNA members (including a link to see the recording after a call).  Please join!
We’re now offering a video as well as phone option!

If you’re a current PNA member, feel free to contact us suggest topics and moderators for future calls.
Perhaps you’d like to lead one or co-present on a topic important to you?



Sharing back from the IPTN conference in India: Highlights, challenges, key learnings
Thurs. January 9, 2020, 8-9:15pm (eastern time)

Facilitators tbd
Please sign up here

Teaching Playback…and the new Guide to teaching Playback Theatre
Tues. January 28, 2020, 8-9:15pm (eastern time)
Facilitated by Anne and Christopher Ellinger
Please sign up here

For men in Playback
Thurs. February 6, 2020, 8-9:15pm (eastern time)
This call is by and for men (self-identified) who are active in Playback …a space for sharing our experience together
Please sign up here

Choosing (and exploring) juicy topics for shows
Wed.. February 26, 2020, 8-9:15pm (eastern time)
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.

Please sign up here

Possible upcoming teleconference themes (feel free to suggest a topic you’re interested in):
*  Growing old…and still doing Playback
* Why audience members want to tell stories and why some don’t want to tell stories
* Using Playback (and other interactive theater) in offering Active Bystander Intervention trainings
* Favorite skill development exercises (for improv, acting, and Playback) and how to give feedback
* Engaging your troupe’s fans

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?

Moderator: Christopher Ellinger, director of True Story Theater, Arlington MA

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?