Happy Anniversary – PTNe.V (German Speaking Playback Theatre Network)

Our German speaking Playback Theatre Network (PTN e.V.) and that means, our Playback Theatre Training Program, affiliated with Centre for Playback Theatre (N.Y.), is 10 years old. We would like to share our story.

The story of “German-speaking” Playback Theatre: A very brief rundown
As you know, the German language is spoken not only in Germany, but also in Austria and part of Switzerland – three countries with close ties and shared borders. When people in this area started learning and practising Playback Theatre in the 1980s, it flowed across borders too.

At that time, Jonathan Fox was teaching workshops in Switzerland and Germany and offering training in upstate New York State. In the early 1990s, there started to be a desire for more training in the German-speaking area and for a gathering which would bring German-speaking Playbackers together and provide them with an informal network. People like Annette Henne (Switzerland), Marlies Arping and Daniel Feldhendler, (Germany), and Shurga Schrammel (Austria) were some of the first organ- isers of German-speaking Playback Theatre gatherings, which now attract about 150 people each year. In 1997, Heinrich Dauber of Kassel University brought Jonathan Fox to Germany to teach Playback Theatre courses there, and a decade later, graduates of the School of Playback Theatre (director Jonathan Fox) had set up a German-speaking school, located centrally in Germany, near Frankfurt.

A little later, in 2005, the German non-profit association, “Playback-Theater-Netzwerk e.V.” (eingetragener Verein = registered association) was founded to support and promote Playback Theatre activities and training in the German-speaking area, and it is this association which is organising the 2011 IPTN world conference. The association’s founding members (in alphabetical order) were: Marlies Arping, Charlette Auque-Dauber, Daniel Feldhendler, Karin Gisler (Switzerland), Jutta Heppekausen, Juergen Herrmann, Alfred Hohmann, Markus Huehn, Manfred Kralinger, Ingrid Mager, Peter Pfundt, Asha Richard, Oliver Schubbe, Ga- briele Steib, Marianne Tobler (Switzerland), Katharina Witte, Fra Zeller (Switzerland).

These achievements were the result of the tenacious, often arduous, sometimes conflict-ridden, mostly unpaid work of a number of people, driven by their passion for this form of theatre with its unique blend of artistic expression, human contact and social engagement. They are still working very hard to make the 2011 conference a success. Among the members of the conference planning committee are some who were there from the “beginning” and others from the newer generations of PT practitioners and enthusiasts.

So our 2014 Playback Theatre Summer School program at Germerode near Kassel will include a ceremony and ritual. Marlies & Daniel
On Behalf of PTN e.V. Board
German speaking Playback Theatre Network
Playback-Theater-Netzwerk e. V. //

Translated by Janet Salas for 10th IPTN Conference in Frankfurt last year