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Title: Playback Theatre as a Response to the Impact of Political Violence and Structural Oppression
Contributor(s): Rivers, Benjamin (author); Spence, Rebecca  (supervisor); Ware, Helen  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2016
Copyright Date: 2015
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: In Playback Theatre, audience members share true stories from their own lives and subsequently watch as a team of actors and musicians turn these accounts into improvised enactments. The method is now practiced in over 60 countries as a way to promote dialogue, community building, and psychosocial wellbeing. This thesis, composed of 7 published articles, covers new ground by investigating the use of Playback Theatre for addressing the impact of political violence and structural oppression. The enactment of personal stories within a communal context is presented as an effective intervention within broader efforts that aim to raise consciousness and mobilize diverse audiences towards engagement in political action. In addition to Playback's role as a form of cultural activism, the author also explores its use as a form of community-based trauma response - one that enables practitioners and community members to address the structural roots of large-scale violence while also attending to the personal impact of adversity. The limitations, risks and pitfalls of Playback are also presented, including the possibility that practitioners may inadvertently exert their privilege to replicate oppressive ideologies or dynamics within the performance space. The importance of working collaboratively and strategically with a range of partners is also emphasized. Although the discussion focuses on the use of Playback Theatre within occupied Palestine, some articles also explore its use within other contexts including the Dalit movement in India. In addition to a focus on the pragmatic functions of Playback Theatre, the author also explores the value of beauty and aesthetics, particularly in relation to psychodramatic group work.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 190404 Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
169905 Studies of Pacific Peoples Societies
160604 Defence Studies
Rights Statement: Copyright 2015 - Benjamin Rivers
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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