Season’s Greetings to all our friends and supporters! I can’t believe it has already been four years since I was first introduced to Playback Theatre and began a journey which has led me to experience life from a whole new perspective. Playback has taught me how to practice deep listening, empathy, and connection with the human spirit. I am so grateful to now share this with others. In May of 2012, I invited a small group of people to join me on an adventure and bring Playback Theatre to Salem, Oregon. After experiencing first hand the power of Playback to heal, transform and entertain individuals and community through story, I started Salem Playback Theatre (SPT) to bring this unique work to the Willamette Valley. As the days grow shorter and 2014 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting upon our amazing journey so far. Playback as a form was developed in the late 1970s in upstate New York by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas, a husband and wife team. They drew upon ancient story-telling rituals as well as drama therapy and experimental theatre forms to create a unique framework for telling and performing stories. While Salem Playback Theatre is honored to be one of over 125 Playback companies worldwide, we are rooted in the people and the stories of our community and are deeply grateful for the warm welcome and outpouring of support we have received from our sponsors and audience members. We are able to share this important work because of your financial support, audience participation and loving encouragement. I am absolutely in awe and incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished in just two and a half years. We have had the privilege to perform for numerous local organizations including the Salem Art Association, TEDx Salem, the Oregon State Hospital, Mid-Valley Men Against Violence, the SMART Reading Program, “Turbulent Times,” an anti-bullying summit sponsored by the Capitol City Council for School Peace and several private events. We have grown faster than I could ever have imagined, and our trajectory clearly shows me that we are offering a valuable service that enriches and enlivens our community. This year alone, in addition to 8 performances for over 600 people, Salem Playback Theatre:
- Received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS acknowledging Salem Playback as a registered non-profit organization
- Increased troupe membership by 44% – more players allows us to increase the number of performances we can offer
- Found a permanent home at the Reed Opera House
- Offered free public trainings on Playback form, theory and history
- Taught Playback at no charge to a group of 20 eager 4th, 5th, and 6th graders every week over the course of 9 months. Not only did they learn playback, but gained listening, empathy, and communication skills.
- Established regular public performances on the third Saturday of each month
- Welcomed the Oregon Driver Education Center (ODEC) as our first corporate sponsor.
And we are looking forward to our biggest year yet. Our goals for 2015 include:
- Giving voice to new audience members in diverse communities by partnering with various organizations and dedicating each public performance throughout the year to a different group (e.g. Federation of the Blind, Men Against Violence, the Second Annual Anti-bullying Summit, etc.) (an estimated 10 such performances with an estimated audience count of 450 and 70 stories played back.)
- Sponsoring troupe members to attend Playback workshops and conferences, including the International Playback conference in Montreal, for training and inspiration so they may better serve our community
- Recruiting and training more troupe members
- Hiring a public relations specialist to support the growth of the company
We can achieve each of our goals for next year – with your help. I invite you to celebrate the giving season with a tax-deductible donation to Salem Playback Theatre. I am trying to raise $5,000 to put on 10 playback shows for marginalized members of our community whose inspiring stories are ready to be told. Will you donate $50 to help me reach that goal? Every gift, of any amount, will help us to empower more storytellers and unite community through shared experience. Salem Playback is also a registered cultural non-profit with the Oregon Cultural Trust. That means that if you donate to us, and make a matching donation to the Cultural Trust, you will be eligible to take the full amount of the second donation (up to $500) as a tax credit on your Oregon State taxes. See the Cultural Trust website for full details. On behalf of Salem Playback, I thank you for a wonderful two and a half years. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Warm Regards, Don Crites Founder and Executive Director And Happy Holidays from Salem Playback Theatre