Playback Theatre and Storytelling Circles Program
“After a year of training together, during our first performance, I was very moved. I felt a bit like Neil Armstrong when he took his first step on the moon… This may be a small step for us, but it has the potential to become a very large step towards transforming the Arab-Jewish conflict in our region.” — Tasneem, Muslim, Dir El Asad
From Stage to Change is an ongoing training program for Arab and Jewish women with a background in drama and theatre. It is designed to strengthen women’s leadership in Israel and support women in bringing their voice to the public sphere as a vehicle of healing and transformation. Participants study playback theatre and facilitation of Storytelling Circles with us. After they complete the course they join our From Heart of Our Stories Ensemble and participate in events that include a playback performance and a follow up storytelling circle.
The Heart of Our Stories Ensemble is one of the only Arab and Jewish women’s playback theatre ensembles in the world today. So far we have performed in over 70 locations for more than 2000 people. We focus on issues of women’s rights and empowerment, the Arab/Jewish conflict, diversity, social cohesion and reconciliation. This program is in collaboration with Shiluvim BaGalil School for Playback Theatre: http://www.therapist.co.il/Members/playback/1.html.
The event itself is divided into two parts. During the performance volunteers from the audience are invited to share personal stories related to their challenges as Arabs or Jews in Israel especially related to the rift that has been growing over the years between us. These stories are then enacted on stage by the actresses of the Ensemble. Following the performance the audience is divided into small groups led by the actresses who are also storytelling circle facilitators. Based on the experience with our pilot group, the deep listening and sharing in a supportive setting created within the small groups encourage a feeling of understanding, empathy, and cohesion that are crucial for reconciliation.
“This program is where I am able to use my creative theatrical knowledge and my facilitating skills to do something towards securing the future of my children.”
— Yoli, 46, Kamon, was one of our actresses. May she rest in Peace.
“I will never forget that moment when I saw an Ethiopian man, a disabled woman, and Arab and Jewish women acting the story of one of our teachers about her son who was born deaf. It touched me so deeply that it was beyond words….”
— Orit, 34, a student who attended the Beit Berl event
“When we were asked to act the story of an Ethiopian mother who travelled on her own to Israel with her five children hoping to make a better life for them and then lost her daughter in a car accident, I felt overwhelmed… But afterwards when I saw her surrounded by her friends, smiling through her tears, I realized that we were actually supporting her process of healing…”
– Miriam, 58, Kfar Vradim, an actress/facilitator
“The Together Beyond Words Playback Theatre Ensemble visited us at Beit Berl College for a unique and magical performance. The different actresses and the connection between them succeeded in creating within the Arab and Jewish audience an atmosphere of openness, shared joy, excitement and readiness to connect with one another. This was an exceptionally bonding experience that each participant will remember.”
— Dr. Meirav Naker-Sadi, Department of Informal Education at Beit Berl College
“The performance was heart opening, inspiring and empowering. The follow up workshop enabled many more people to open their hearts and share their pain in a safe space. Each group seemed to have developed a circle of trust and connection very quickly. “
– Ravit Yasur, director, Tedarim Betnua Organization
“I wish this type of events could be done all over the United States and Israel, they help so much in changing people’s prejudices and biases…”
– Tina, a Jewish participant at the Esalen performance + workshop event