Playback Community Theatre South West – the charitable arm
Playback Community Theatre South West governs the charitable work of this organisation. It has been awarded funding for projects by ‘Awards for All’ for the Tarte Noire project and the Play and Replay project; The Devon Funding Network and Comic Relief for projects with Assylum Seekers and Refugees in Plymouth; Plymouth City Council for a project for young people with behavioural and learning needs; and Prairie Trust for the Sisters at the Edge project with women who have experienced domestic violence.
Our charitable aims: benefits to the public
We believe that Playback Community Theatre South West satisfies the Charity Commission’s Public Benefit Requirement in the following ways. We seek funding to enable us to develop new activities in each of these domains – advancement of community development, advancement of the arts , advancement of individual and community health and well-being.
a) advancement of community development
Playback Community Theatre South West aims to strengthen communities by enabling the respectful sharing, witnessing and honouring of individuals’ stories of life experiences, both within and across social groups. In this way Playback Theatre can contribute to both bonding and bridging social capital.
Examples of ways we have done this include: performing at a national conference for children in the Care Services, providing an opportunity for young people in Care to express their feelings; touring Devon towns and villages to explore issues which affect women’s lives eg: eating disorders/food and body image/isolation/sexuality/work /mothering and creativity; facilitating conversations in many settings, particularly in Mental Health settings, with service users and carers and in the BME community.
Future possibilities include: developing workshops and performances with women who have experienced Sexual and Domestic Violence; creating a Learning Disabled Playback Theatre Company to work and perform with and alongside our existing Companies; Building a Young People’s Company from a variety of social backgrounds, hopefully to include the Refugee/Asylum Seeker Community in Plymouth; developing rapport and skills with young people to enable them to support other young people in learning situations.
b) advancement of the arts
Playback Community Theatre South West enables people previously untrained in drama and theatre work, as well as experienced actors and theatre practitioners, to produce artistic work of beauty and personal and social integrity, aiming always for high standards of artistic excellence.
Examples of ways we have done this include: provided training in playback theatre performance skills to approximately 150 people; run monthly Mirror Mirror Playback Theatre performances over a period of two years; run a series of womens’ playback theatre events in rural towns and villages over a period of one year.
Future possibilities include: Generating access in hard to reach communities of social deprivation and rural isolation, to fund continuing development of existing company members and to create training opportunities for new and potential people to engage in Playback Theatre, mentoring new companies, integrating learning disabled adults into the Playback community, touring Devon towns and villages with Mirror Mirror and Tarte Noire,. creating links with other Playback Theatre csompanies to share and develop practice. Overall, to develop Playback Theatre in the region generally – to make it more a known and available art form.
c) advancement of individual and community health and well-being
Playback Community Theatre South West supports positive change in individuals and social groups/ communities through acknowledging, reflecting and giving meaning to the real life experiences of the people who participate. By drawing people together as they witness their common humanity through the enactments, we hope to build individual and collective resilience in dealing with adversity and challenge in life, as well as celebrating success and recovery. Although it is not offered as a specific therapy, we believe, and the feedback from audience members supports this belief, that participating in Playback Theatre is a healing process that enhances personal and social well-being.
Examples of ways we have done this include: we have worked with conflict resolution, racial harmony, equality and diversity; with BME communities involved in the Mental Health services; with Carers sharing their stories and experiences of isolation/anger/despair/triumph.; hearing stories of Womens’ Aid workers; working with Counsellors in training; going into different communities to explore specific issues which affect women’s lives.
Future possibilities include: Funding to enable organisations to access Playback Theatre as a vehicle for social change. Developing further links with the Mental Health services, with women who have experienced sexual and domestic violence and with young people exploring relationships and sexuality; contributing to work at the Centre for Sustainable Futures at Plymouth University, for example by contributing to a forthcoming conference; working with local NHS researchers exploring experiences of long term illness and disability.