• Sat
  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 1:14am

Sound bites

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 August, 2008, 12:00am

You recently returned to Hong Kong to conduct a series of playback theatre workshops. What is so special about this form of improvisational theatre?

London-based stage actress Veronica Needa (right) says: 'I first encountered playback theatre in 1991 and it lit my wick. It is spontaneous, improvisational theatre which invites personal stories from the audience.

'I trained the first playback group in Hong Kong for performances in July 1997, and it has since taken root here.

'I have also been travelling widely around the world teaching and sharing this strange hybrid of theatre, with its connection to the therapeutic world as well as education and social change work.

'In January 2006, a London-rooted group was established. As True Heart Theatre, we specialise in playback theatre as a service to the Chinese community and the wider British public - making our work more visible.

'We practise working in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin to encourage cross-cultural integration within our own group as well as for our performances.

'[For years] the overseas Chinese community has been focused on economic survival and keeping their heads low to survive discrimination.

'But now with China in ascendance, the profile for British Chinese is dramatically shifting. Placing value in the arts and fully engaging with it as practitioners and punters, the Chinese must increasingly make themselves visible and actively contribute to forging the multicultural identity of Britain today.'

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