Playback Theatre in Hong Kong

Playback Theatre Workshop

Michelle is running a playback theatre workshop for We Draman in conjunction with the cultural ambassador 2017 show, Cardboard Dreams.

Dates and Times

Class A

Dates: 24、31/10 (Tuesdays)
Times: 3pm-5pm
Address: Chinese Methodist Church North Point

Class B

Dates: 4/11 (Saturday)、5/11 (Sunday)
Times: 11am-1pm
Address: Lai Yiu Neighbourhood Elderly Centre

If you would like to join, please contact We Draman directly on 95856044 (Miss Chan) /

What is Playback Theatre?

Playback theatre is based on original material and stories drawn from the local community. It involves improvisation and interaction with the audience via the conductor. Audience members are sometimes asked to tell their stories, and see them acted out and improvised on the spot by the actors. The term originally comes from the first Playback Theatre company, which was founded in 1975 by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas.

While playback theatre could be considered a form of documentary theatre, it is much more specific in the form that is used to approach the documentary material, sharing elements with Augusto Boal’s forum theatre. Rooftop Productions’ previous show Not The Maids employed documentary theatre techniques to create the script, but did not invite live interaction with the audience or improvisation, although the post show talk every day provided a kind of forum for audience members to share their personal stories in relation to the topic. Cardboard Dreams took a similar approach.

The special thing about all of these types of theatre is that they make use of stories told by regular people, about their direct experiences, transcribed from recorded interviews. This makes it challenging to present, and often brings up the question of the reliability of the narrator. It can also be challenging to select stories that are specific enough to be engaging and inspire empathy, while at the same time addressing the larger issue faced by people in their situation in general.

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