What is Playback Theater?

Playback Theatre is an original form of story-based improvisational theatre that builds connection, dialogue, and change. Volunteers from the audience tell personal stories during a performance, then watch as trained actors and musicians create theatre on the spot. Playback Theatre takes place in theatres, schools, migrant labor camps, conferences, and more, in about 60 countries.

Playback Theatre was founded in 1975 in upstate New York by Jonathan Fox, Jo Salas, and other members of the original company. The International Playback Theatre Network, founded in 1990, provides connection through conferences and a newsletter to practitioners worldwide. The Centre for Playback Theatre is a training organization based in North America and affiliated with programs in ten other countries.

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