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What is Playback Theatre?


Playback Theatre is community theatre, where the real moments, dreams and stories of the audience are spontaneously improvised.

Tell your story with the help of our conductor, choose the actors to play the parts and then sit back and watch as it is brought to life by our company of actors and musicians. Sometimes people come with stories they want to tell, and sometimes stories are inspired by the performance. Sometimes people come simply to watch.

This positive and enjoyable process demonstrates that everyone’s story is worth telling. Stories can be hilarious, humdrum, tragic or joyful – any moment, however small, can make a Playback story.

Playback Theatre is a unique experience that can be entertaining, thought provoking and surprising.

Playback Theatre has been used by many different groups, companies and organisations:

  • As a stimulus for further debate

  • As a forum for hearing various points of view

  • To dramatise issues

  • To explore change

  • To improve relationships

Telling and bringing the story to life can expand the teller’s understanding of the event and of their own and any other people’s parts in it . While remaining an individual personal experience many in the audience will recognise it as akin to events in their own lives. This emphasises the universality of our experiences.

Playback Theatre York can provide pre- or post performance workshops which, using a variety of action-based methods, can work with issues of current concern to your group.

What is Playback Theatre?

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Playback Online

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The restrictions resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic have lead to Playback practitioners translating the Playback form to work creatively online.


This innovation has enabled Playback York to continue rehearsing and performing. We have been excited by the potential that online platforms offer. It has been enriching to reach out to audiences that can now join from all over the country and from all over the world.