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The therapeutic benefits of Playback Theatre

An original form of improvisational theatre where an audience or members of a group tell stories of their lives and watch them enacted on the spot.Playback Theatre, often used as an important therapeutic tool in Dramatherapy, has the power to enable dialogue, generate empathy, and build bridges of understanding between people; a powerful tool for affirming life experiences and building community. It is a vehicle for promoting the unheard voice, active participation and empathy.

Playback Theatre allows a high degree of sensitivity to the needs of any specific group. It is used in a broad range of settings: theatres and community centres (where performances take place for the general public), in schools, private sector organizations, non-profit organizations, prisons, hospice centres, day treatment centres, at conferences of all kinds, and colleges and universities. The group Playback South based in Central London offers public performances held at the very atmospheric Candid Arts Trust 3 Torrens Street, EC1V 1NQ - every first Wednesday of the month Stories may be funny or tragic, "trivial" or life changing, themes may develop, or the show may contain a roller-coaster variety of stories.

For the storyteller the experience may be a bit of fun, or it may help him or her see events in their life in a different way or it may have a profound therapeutic effect. For the audience a playback show is always entertaining and enlightening. It may bring the group together, it may help to illustrate issues, provoke discussion and lead to solutions to problems.

Playback is the theatre of the unexpected. It takes the audience on a journey through each others' hearts and minds. Surprising stories spring into magical life, words are made flesh and the everyday brings forth epics.

Playback is, in its essence a primeval activity. A group of people meet together and tell stories. As the show progresses they gradually learn about each other, they grow closer, they share their hopes and fears, reveal their joys and insecurities. Share their lives. It is truly theatre that belongs to the audience.

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