Bringing stories to life through theatre
Playback theatre is an original form of improvisational theatre in which the audience contribute stories from their lives, choose the actors to play the different roles, and witness their stories come to life, as they are adapted theatrically on the spot. Performances are a joint effort of a team of actors, a musician and a conductor whose role is to converse with the audience and to engage them in dialogue. In the absence of a predetermined script or a score, playback theatre relies on voluntary contributions from the audience promoting the right for any voice to be heard, orchestrating intimate exchange, and allowing for catharsis through drama. What has today expanded into a medium for activism, justice, and education was originally a concept conceived by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas. In an interview with the Post’s Kripa Shrestha, Jonathan Fox shares the origins of playback theatre and how his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal in the 1960’s influenced the birth of its concept.