More than 250 Playback actors, musicians and conductors gathered this July for several days to learn, share and celebrate 40 years of creating art from people’s personal stories. Can you imagine how exciting it is to be with all those people who share a similar excitement about playback, coming from all over the globe?
The first day, the Centre for Playback Theatre held a reception, in a building on the McGill University campus. After wandering, asking directions and bumping into other playback participants, we all found our way to a Tudor style room with dark wood paneling and large wooden beams. Juxtaposed to this historic look hung lovely, large modern watercolor paintings. There was ample food for all the hungry travelers and a bar with two different types of sangria! The event was a celebration of graduates from the CPT leadership program, as well as committee and board members. Heidi Reagan, the Centre’s Executive Director], was the gracious facilitator and organizer. First, there was a virtual map of the world and everyone placed themselves at the origin of their departure for Montreal. Then members from all 13 committees were introduced and acknowledged. The remainder of the time was spent eating, laughing and schmoozing with old and new friends before heading back to the ballroom for the IPTN gathering.
As the conference began and everyone was welcomed, Heidi gave an inspiring speech about the Centre’s history and continued commitment to providing training that promotes excellence and ethical practice throughout the world. She then introduced all the board members that were present at the gathering.
Throughout the conference the board members staffed a table, providing materials and information about the Centre . Table staff also asked members to fill out a survey to assess training needs. In exchange for taking the time to fill out the survey, each respondent received a handmade paper-plate hat, artistically created by CPT board Vice President,Tim Reagan, (no relation to Heidi). A playful cardboard birthday cake was also on display as well as books for purchase. Best of all, the table was a hub for great conversations.
The Centre is sponsoring a 40th Anniversary online auction to fund our scholarship program. Please check it out! The auction kicked off at the conference with a very special Shaman figure donated by Jonathan Fox and now in the possession of Karin Bettina Gisler. Since the conference, Karin has made sure the little Shaman figure travels the globe visiting other Playbackers during Leadership training in Italy and trainings in Serbia!
Playback’s 40th Birthday party was led by IPTN and Centre board members with singing and a giant birthday Toblerone generously transported from Europe by Karin. Every party needs chocolate! Everyone present received a candle to make their own wish for Playback in the upcoming 40 years. There was much good cheer!
Following the end of the IPTN conference, the CPT board members and Heidi convened for their annual retreat to discuss the possibilities for 2016. They were joined by Pontus Holmgren from the CPT Strategic Committee the first evening of the retreat and with enthusiasm spilling over from the previous event they recapped 2015 and discussed new ideas for the future. The CPT board also met with the IPTN board to further communication and camaraderie between the two organizations and share highlights of the event.
There are amazing new things on the horizon for Playback Theatre and the Centre and we look forward to sharing them with you soon!
~ Reported by Deborah Zavos