Words from the Editor, July 2015 – Simon Floodgate

Welcome to the IPTN Journal, the new title for Interplay.  The Journal is the place to share ideas, reflections and events occurring in the Playback Theatre world.  We publish at a significant moment in time.  This edition of the Journal coincides with several significant events in the Playback world:

2015 is the Fortieth Anniversary of Playback Theatre

2015 sees the IPTN International Conference in Montreal

The IPTN has rebranded and launched a new website

Interplay becomes the IPTN Journal

…and there is a new editor …me!  Becoming editor is a challenging role for me. I have to follow in the impressive footprints of the outgoing editor, Rea Dennis, who did a fantastic job of developing Interplay, writing about Playback and critical engagement with the ideas underpinning it.  Thank you, Rea.  As I have edited my first edition of the Journal it has become apparent to me just how much the editor’s role is like the process of conducting a Playback Theatre performance.  All of the articles and contributions offered by the writers are deeply felt at the same time as being objective critical reflections.  They, like stories, are gifts to the Playback community that resonate within and between us.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions, and thereby of gates, doors, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.  As the IPTN conference in Montreal addresses where we have come from and where we are going to, so this edition of the Journal is about past reflections and new beginnings.   I thank the contributors to, and translators of, this first edition of the IPTN Journal for their time, energy and rigour…and patience. 

Looking back, Ádám Kiss György provides us with a heartfelt thank you to the origins and spirit of Playback that echoes what many of us may feel and there is notice of the imminent publication of Jonathan’s memoirs, Beyond Theatre, which will deepen our understanding of how Playback was conceived.  Brian Tasker asks us to take a mindful pause at this moment of transition to consider the ethics of PBT in relation to professionalism and the CPT’s Code of Ethics is included to facilitate this.  Rinat Shahaf Barzilay with Nurit Shoshan reflects upon the challenges of birthing and developing a new PBT company in Israel.  

Looking forward, Ben Rivers draws upon Playback work in Palestine, India and the USA to propose a methodology for employing Playback Theatre for social action and Jo Salas launches my time as new editor, with a call for a rigorous approach to writing about Playback that links to the mission and vision of the IPTN Journal.  You might also be interested to find out about Jo’s new book, Dancing with Diana, influenced by some of her Playback practice.

The IPTN Journal (formerly Interplay) remains a place for sharing Playback values and events.  It is also a site of respectful dialogue and debate.  As we celebrate forty years of Playback Theatre and continue to promote its dissemination throughout the world, it is inevitable that questions of values, ethics and methods come into play.  The IPTN Journal is one tool that the global community can use to question, challenge and debate these matters in a respectful manner. 

The call for the next edition is below but you are invited to contact me about possible articles and/or to develop pieces at any time.  I will also continue to contact people myself to commission articles.  The Journal serves as a conduit through which we can dialogue with each other and make ourselves more robust in our talking about Playback within the wider world.

       Simon Floodgate, July 2015