Playback Theatre in Community Settings: An Interactive Workshop

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Playback Theatre is an internationally recognized form of interactive and community-based theatre. It can be used in community contexts in many settings as a way of creating community cohesion, building understanding, bridging conflicts and developing solidarity.

The presenters, one from Germany and the other from the US, have recently participated in an international delegation of playback theatre pracitioners in Cuba, where playback theatre, first introduced by teachers from the United States and Europe, has emerged as an indigenous, community-based theatrical form.

In playback theatre, a company of trained performers responds to spontaneous offers from the audience: stories, feelings, insights and hopes. The techniques used by trained performers can be learned and used effectively by community organizers, community-based artists and and other workers for peace and empowerment.

In this workshop, the presenters will lead participants through a training designed to teach them how to create 'fluid sculpture' forms. These are spontaneous, collaborative theatrical 'moments' using abstract and realistic movements, sounds, words and music. Participants will begin to develop a competence in this approach, which teaches a way to become fully present with others; to listen with head, heart and body; and to respond in a fully embodied way, with movement, sound and rhythm. Through this ritualized process, those that share begin to recognize that they have been fully heard and understood.


Keywords: Playback Theatre, Fluid Sculpture, Community-Based Theatre
Stream: Performing Arts Practices: Theatre, Dance, Music
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English/German
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Ronald Miller

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts; Director, Maryland Playback Ensemble, Department of Theatre Arts, McDaniel College; Maryland Playback Ensemble
Frederick, Maryland, USA

Ronald Miller is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at McDaniel College and director of the focus area in interactive theatre. He is the Director of the Maryland Playback Ensemble, a community-based improvisational theatre focused on creating community through the mirroring of personal stories. He leads workshops nationally and internationally in Healing the Wounds of History, a process engaging participants from cultures with shared histories of trauma; in theatre for social change and cultural identity; and in theatre and drama therapy. He is the author of articles on Playback Theatre, and Healing the Wounds of History.

Markus Huehn

Director, Projekt Purpur
Kassel, Germany


Ref: A09P0475