The Salem Playback Theater provides unique training and acting opportunities for artists with a passion for purposeful performance. Even if this is new to you, we encourage everyone with a desire to put their acting, or music skills to work, to connect with us. This is an amazing opportunity to improve the quality of life of everyone in the community in a productive and inspiring way.Visit our Facebook page, email us, or complete the “contact us” form if you are interested in participating.
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Don Crites is the founder, and Artistic Director of Salem Playback Theatre, which features some of Salem’s most talented performers. Don has trained with the Seattle-based Mandala Center for Change, and the Playback Centre in New York. He is passionate about serving the needs of our youth, seniors, and the at-risk population. He enjoys life’s journey while affecting positive changes within the context of supportive communities.
Dena Lynn was born to live a life of high-drama, and was forced tochannel it into theater, so as to remain sane. She’s a 7th generation Oregonian, and lived all over the world, before returning to the land where she was born. She’s a truth-seeker, who delights in using theater, writing, public speaking and painting, in order to creatively & passionately express her soul. She has birthed and mentored eight children, and has a master’s degree in the School of Lifelong Learning. She has discovered an invaluable sense of tribe and community, within Playback Theater; through it, she can connect with the hearts of others, and inspire them to also express who they truly are.
Robin Wengert is a native Oregonian who’s slowly migrated from Springfield to Salem. He owns and operates Green Rising Construction, a conscientious and sustainable construction/remodeling company. He has three terrific children: a son (20) and twin daughters (16). He treasures making genuine and deep connections with anyone he encounters through his business, personal life, or Playback Theatre. He believes in embracing and celebrating the humor in all circumstances while simultaneously honoring the unique and profound experiences of all beings.
Jay Gipson-King has performed variously as an actor, director, playwright, dramaturg, and improviser. He holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from Florida State University and has taught college-level theatre since 2004. He currently teaches at Willamette University and at CCommunity College. He is also creator and manager of the Salem Theatre Network, an online callboard for theatre artists in and around Salem. He is thrilled to share the cathartic and empowering experience of Playback with the Salem community.
Members in Absentia
Leslie Grasa has a Master’s Degree in Theatre from Florida State University and over 20 years of experience in performing, writing, and directing for the stage. She is initiated and teaches in the Hungarian Basca Shamanic tradition and is passionate about the ancient practice of using stories to bring healing to individuals and communities. She is honored to bring her heart, training and personal history to Salem Playback Theatre. Leslie is currently working on an MFA in performance at Naropa University in Colorado.
Rob Patton joined Playback Theater after seeing his own story so powerfully come to life on stage, and hopes to connect with audience members in the same way to bring life and voice to their story. Drawing upon his own experiences, he is able to capture the magic of the moment, and relishes opportunities to incorporate song, dance, and drumming into Playback Theater. Rob is a proud father of three and works with children in foster care. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Oregon State University, and experience in teaching, youth ministry, and Scouting.
Gwendolyynn Thompson has had four years training as a certified Thespian as well as two years with the School House Rock Improv Company in California. Her experience has carried over into raising her own children as well as being an advocate for families with special needs children. A true student of Human nature, her talents and insights offer a mirroring glimpse into the heart of people’s experiences. Gwen brings to the Salem Playback Theater her love of play and gift of storytelling. She hopes to bring understanding and healing to people as well as laughter and entertainment. School of Music and Dance.