Founding Faculty:

Jonathan Fox

Jonathan is the founder of Playback Theatre and the artistic and executive director of the original Playback Theatre company from its inception in 1975. He is the author of Acts of Service: Spontaneity, Commitment, Tradition in the Nonscripted Theatre; the editor of The Essential Moreno: Writings on Spontaneity, Psychodrama and Group Method; and co-editor of Gathering Voices: Essays on Playback Theatre. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Kassel in Germany for artistic and scholarly achievement in theater.

Jo Salas

Portrait of Jo SalasJo is a founding member of the original Playback Theatre company, and founder of Hudson River Playback Theatre, founded in 1990. Jo co-produced and is featured in the DVD Performing Playback Theatre. A core faculty member of the School since its inception, Jo also teaches Playback internationally. She writes frequently about Playback and is the author of Improvising Real Life: Personal Story in Playback Theatre and Do My Story, Sing My Song: Music Therapy and Playback Theatre with Troubled Children. Her two CD’s include Listen and Remember, a collection of songs for groups.

Centre Faculty Includes:

Aviva Apel-Rosenthal

Aviva is the founder, conductor and artistic director of PLAYLIFE – Playback Company in Tel Aviv, Israel since 1991, and past-President of IPTN, the International Playback Theatre Network. She has been an actress, theater director, and now for many years she is teaching and training Playback internationally. Together with Nurit Shoshan she is a Director and leading teacher of the Israeli School of Playback Theatre which is affiliated with the Centre of Playback Theatre in NY,USA. She has a BA in Theater Studies, an MA in Gender and Arts Studies, and Diploma in Arts therapy. Aviva is an Accredited Playback Theatre Trainer. She says “Playback Theatre is a contemporary theater and multidisciplinary art form – for healing, social change as well as entertainment.”

Hannah Fox

Hannah is an Associate professor of Dance and Theater at Manhattanville College. She is the founder and artistic director of Big Apple Playback Theatre. Hannah teaches dance, theater and improv workshops internationally and is the author of Zoomy Zoomy: Improv Games and Exercises for Groups.

Hsin-chih Chang

Hsin-chih Chang
Hsin-chic is a senior trainer of Adventure Matters, Ltd, and an occupational therapist. She loves using different methods and skills to facilitate the expression of everyone’s fuller potential – such as drama, rock climbing, rope courses, ect. Since 2006 she provided Playback skills as group therapy in the hospital, as well as PT training and performance for psychiatric patients and staff, team building courses in corporate training, and also workshops in experiential education.  Artistic Director of OOPS Playback Theatre, she is a member of the Asia Association for Experiential Education (AAEE).

Jennie Kristel

JenMiller1aJennie is an artist and an expressive arts therapist, who also serves on the Board of Very Special Arts (Vermont). She is also a founding member of Vermont Playback Theatre. She is a graduate of the School of Playback Theatre.

Jerry Chen

Jerry- ChenJerry is founder and Co-Artistic Director of What’s Play Theatre, Taiwan. He graduated from the Centre for Playback Theatre in 2013. He is a celebrated teacher of Playback in Taiwan, teaching several student and citizen groups. He also teaches and works as a facilitator on organizational and community development. Jerry is also the Secretary General of the Taiwan Playback Theatre Association. For more information please visit TPTA blog.

Joke Rood

Joke is a marketing professional in the arts and founder member of Wordt Vervolgd, which means ‘To be continued’. They have been an ensemble for 13 years. Their clients have included Greenpeace, Ministry of Finance, police, government institutions, schools, an asylum seeker centre and many others. She is highly motivated to create a good relationship between goals, cash, art and customers for playbackers.

Judy Swallow

Judy is a founding member of the original Playback Theatre company and founding director of Community Playback Theatre, now 25 years old. She is Co-director of the Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute and a body/mind psychotherapist with a private practice.

Michael Cheng

Michael2Michael is an applied drama practitioner, with an interest in using drama for social dialogue, social change, development work and community development.  His work is mainly in and using Playback Theatre in communities and in using drama with people with special needs. To him, every story is important and every story deserves to be heard. If we truly hear the story of every man, then the world will be a better place. He holds a degree in Theater Studies and Psychology, and has a graduate diploma in Special Education. He is also a graduate of the Centre for Playback Theatre (U.S.A.) and is currently the Secretary of the Board for the Centre. He is Artistic Director of Tapestry Playback Theatre (Singapore) and a member of the Singapore Drama Educators Association (SDEA).

Pamela Freeman

Pamela is a psychotherapist in Philadelphia and a long time social activist in peace and social justice. She is co-founder of Playback for Change in Philadelphia, and a graduate of the School of Playback Theatre.

Penny Clayton

Penny has been an actor, conductor, and administrator with Hudson River Playback Theatre since 1998. A graduate of the Centre training program, Penny presented last year at the “Playback in the Academy” conference in Windsor, Canada.

Sarah Halley

Sarah is a co-director of Playback for Change in Philadelphia and past president of the International Playback Theatre Network. Sarah uses Playback Theatre and other experiential methods in organizational development work, including diversity change initiatives. She is also a lead facilitator for the Whites Confronting Racism series at Training for Change, a global training organization for activists, and an artist-in-residence with the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts.

Sarah Urech

Sarah is assistant director of Hudson River Playback Theatre and has been acting and conducting together with Jo Salas since 1994. A graduate of the Centre for Playback Theatre, Sarah served on the board of the International Playback Theatre Network from 2006 to 2010. She has taught and performed Playback in 12 countries and multiple languages. In 2011, she co-moderated the IPTN World Playback Theatre Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Sarah is a Licensed Master’s Social Worker, a certified psychodramatist, and the Program Manager at the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.

Sheila Donio


Sheila is a professional actress and theater director from Brazil, with over 20 years of experience. A playbacker since 2004, Sheila was part of one of the very few full time professional PT companies in the world and founded a couple other companies later on. She is a graduate and the current President of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Playback Theatre and runs Playback workshops and supervision for Playback companies in Brazil and abroad.

Tim Reagan, PhD

Tim_Reagan_2013Tim Reagan is a registered drama therapist, accredited Playback Theatre trainer, and drama educator at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. A doctoral candidate in expressive therapies at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, Tim’s research focuses on the impact Playback Theatre has on adolescents. His chapter “The Playback Experience: Personal Stories as Motivators” in “Arts Integration: Teachers and Teaching Artists as Agents of Change,” edited by Humphries Mardirosian and Lewis, is set for release by Intellect in 2015.

Tim Van Ness

Tim is founder and President of Van Ness & Company. For 15 years he has been using PT and action methods for leadership development and transforming organizational culture in fortune 100 and 500 companies.

Veronica Needa

Veronica is co-artistic director of True Heart Theatre, and founder-member of London Playback Theatre. She coordinates the School of PT (UK) and is a past president of the International Playback Theatre Network (1998-2003). She currently sits on the Board of the Centre for Playback Theatre. Her MA in Drama is on Autobiographical Theatre., &

Will Chalmus

Will is a cum laude graduate of Brandeis University ’07′ with high honors in Theater Arts. As a teacher he has trained youth theater skills for personal development in Boston, (MA) USA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Brisbane, Australia. Will is the founder of the Brandeis Playback Theatre Society, the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Playback Theatre, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Internet Players.