What is Playback Theatre?

Playback Theater is a theater form found in over seventy five countries. A company of actors and musicians bring to the stage true stories and story fragments that come from the audience. A company of actors goes on stage and listens to true stories from audience members. The
storyteller casts them in different roles and the actors use all their creative resources to immediately play the story back to the audience. The company finds the heart, the funny bone, as well as the hopes and dreams that are embedded in each tale. It is designed for community
building, healing and entertainment. Playback tests our most basic questions and provides real data. Questions revolve around themes such as understanding, attention, human nature, and the basic building blocks of a community or team, among others. Playback provides a fun, enlivening environment to further develop our emotional intelligence and a form of intelligence that is rarely identified: story intelligence.

Playback uses many forms during one show and each one is designed to bring out important elements of each story. In one of the most basic forms, someone in the audience – the teller – shares a story from their life, chooses the actors to play the different roles, and then all those
present watch the enactment, as the story “comes to life” with musical accompaniment.  At the end, the teller lets us know if we captured the essence of their story. Whatever the form, the teller always has the last word. Playback is a beautiful intersection between theatre, storytelling, and improv. In addition to being a form of entertainment, playback has been used in educational, therapeutic and business settings, as well as to address social justice issues and deal with the aftermath of tragic events such as Hurricane Katrina and August 11/12, 2017 in Charlottesville.

Come to Playback prepared to laugh, be moved, and to hear and share our common stories and experiences. Playback Theatre Virginia is a performance troupe based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Co-directed by Larry Goldstein and Boomie Pedersen of Charlottesville and Tonya
Osinkosky from Richmond, the troupe consists of a varying group of actors including Michelle James, Abena Foreman Trice, Kristen Atkins, Ros Berne, John Countryman, John Rabasa, Katrien Vance and Jennifer Peart., as well as Larry, Tonya and Boomie.