In only two days, we are about to begin the first International Playback Conference ever held on African soil. This is a landmark conference with a large number of majority-world participants, many of whom have never had the opportunity to attend a Playback conference before.
This was made possible due to the untiring efforts of the organisational team – Tarryn, Mammatli, Kathy and Cherae – along with many others. We thank and celebrate you.
The process of creating this conference has not been easy. In particular, the organiser team and Israeli Playback representatives met a few times to discuss the choice of words and the intention of the internal document which detailed their stance on social justice. These discussions were mediated and supported by the IPTN. Ultimately, they were not able to be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. We appreciate how painful and difficult that is. There was never an intention or protocol to exclude anyone, but unfortunately it was felt and received that way.
We live in a world that feels more interconnected yet more conflicted than ever. We have many conference attendees who experience oppression because of their identities, and that also includes a number of Jewish participants and leaders. Creating a safe space for nuanced discussion is crucial and the IPTN and the organisation team have spent a lot of time and effort trying to ensure this.
This conference was, and still is, intended to be for everyone. The conference team is still working hard to make space for voices that have been historically unheard in Playback. While we understand that unresolved differences and hurt hearts still exist, we humbly request that our Playback community around the world offer compassionate support for all Playbackers: those who feel excluded; those who worked hard towards inclusion; those as-yet-unheard; those caught in a conflict; those unable to attend due to borders and visas. We will continue to serve you, leaning into difficult discussions and also making time to celebrate this momentous achievement.
Thank you for all your work.
The International Playback Theatre Network board.