Intro to Playback Theatre Class

Join us to learn the art of Playback Theatre and the skills of embodied empathy as we bring our communities’ stories to life together.

Play, Tell, Create, Connect through Playback Theatre

Learn Basic Forms and Skills for Embodied Empathy

Five Sessions of Creative Expression in the Art of Playback Theatre

10 AM – 1 PM, First Saturdays at the Susquehanna Waldorf School
15 West Walnut Street, Marietta, PA 17547

What We’ll Do 

  • Learn the basics: Every first Saturday from February to June, the class uses a new “form” of reflective, embodied listening to create expressions that honor both unique and universal stories. Such forms build empathy and storytelling skills applicable to many situations. 
  • Connect to your body: Each class begins with warmups that help you access your somatic intelligence and unique improvisational instruments of body and voice for playing and hearing stories of those around us. Based on your own unique creative vocabulary, you are invited to develop new expressions, with all activities “at choice.”
  • Make connections: We build an intentional space for diverse stories by building trust to help us work with even challenging stories. Participants consistently report camaraderie and connection within the class as they hear, tell and play each others’ stories that highlight both unique and shared experiences.
  • Contribute to community: Through interactive activities, participants learn to craft stories that honor its tellers and audiences, bringing out the essence of stories that help people feel validated and empowered to take action in new ways. To this end, a willingness to listen and serve each person’s unique story is vital to our success.
Each month explores a new form of this improvisational art practiced worldwide, a new facet of creating embodied expressions that honor both unique and universal stories. 
  • February 3: More than Two Sides? Working with Tension in the Pairs Form
  • March 2: Many Voices, One Body with the Chorus Form
  • April 6: Three Parts a Charm: Piecing Stories Together
  • May 4: Unearthing the Archetypal Voice with Narrative V Form
  • June 1: Opening Form & Freedom with the Full Story Form
    * Followed by all-class performance: 1-2 PM

What Is It? 

If you’re new to it, Playback Theatre is an original form of improvisational theatre developed nearly 50 years ago by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas in New York. In a performance, audience members tell stories and watch them played back on the spot. Playback is performed in five continents, dozens of languages and more than 70 companies across North America.  

In Playback Theatre stories take a new life on stage as an audience becomes connected in a community dialogue that is both uniquely personal and powerfully universal. Performances and workshops can be a catalyst for new personal insights and group connections in a variety of venues. Playback Theatre is not just witty entertainment and heartfelt storytelling, it’s the activation of our common empathy.  

After a long hiatus, River Crossing Playback Theatre Troupe is offering its Introduction to Playback Theatre Class from February through June of 2024.

Who is this for? 

Introduction to Playback Theatre is designed for those curious to learn the art of Playback Theatre, its applicability to embodied empathy skills and even considering joining the River Crossing Playback troupe in the 2024-2025 season. No prior experience is necessary; we find people who resonate with this art are those both creatively curious and passionate about community (or vice versa!). 

Investment $125 for all five classes 

Participating in this class invites your commitment of time, energy, and openness to developing new skills, and working with others through embodiment practices. You’ll also be invited to meet outside of class to continue the practice and learning.

After the last class, participants are encouraged to invite friends and family for a one-hour performance to share and practice their newfound skills with a friendly audience. Afterward, participants are eligible to join River Crossing Playback troupe events and workshops.


Chris Fitz is the founder and artistic director of River Crossing Playback Theatre, having trained, performed and led workshops in improvisational arts since 2003, in Pennsylvania, Germany, Washington, DC, and across the US. He holds an M.A. in International Peace & Development Studies from the Universitat Jaume I (Castellon, Spain) and a B.A. in International Conflict Resolution from Hampshire College (Amherst, MA).

When You Arrive

Time: 10 AM – 1 PM, Please arrive by 9:50 AM so we can start promptly at 10 AM (doors will be locked thereafter, requiring a call).

Location: Susquehanna Waldorf School is located at 15 West Walnut Street, Marietta, PA, accessible via Lancaster bus route 17.

Parking: is available in the adjacent school lot or on the street (free). West Walnut Street is a one-way street going west.

: comfortable clothing. If you are sick, please notify us below. If you are getting over a cold or at risk, etc., masks are encouraged.

Arrival: Doors lock, so please arrive promptly by 9:50 AM. Proceed through and down the front hall and hallway of the school. We are in the Music Room at the end of the hall on the right.

What to bring: Bring water or something to drink, and if you’d like to bring snacks to share, there will be a break time where we share conversation and light refreshments. 

After party?! 

We often gather at Molly’s Courtyard Cafe next to the school for reflections and connections, so join us and bring a few bucks for some yummy avocado toast, coffee, or smoothies if you like.

Questions? Text/call Colleen at 717-487-1221 if you need to get in after the doors are locked.