My name is Hani Al-Rstum. I am a Playback Practitioner, theatre maker and activist with experience in the NPO sector. I am currently enrolled as a student in the Theatrical Studies Master’s program at the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon.
I kicked off my career back in 2012 when I founded Bailasan team for psychosocial support through expressive arts for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
In 2015 I had my first encounter with playback theater (PBT) by attending a core training in PBT, which gave me the idea of utilizing elements of playback theatre into the program I was leading with one of the local organisations.
In 2017, I founded a Playback Theatre troupe in Tripoli that focused on training 15 participants, in which the participants were engaged in creative brainstorming, dialogue, training and collaborative work. This process took place throughout the course of two years, in order to enable them to fully reflect the stories of their communities through playback theater.
In 2019, my experience in the implementation of playback theatre and reintroducing the art of theatre to Tripoli, led me to widen my practice and implement playback theatre through a collaborative project in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Mosul is known as the city, in which ISIS where established in 2014 and ruled their territory for several years. I am working in this project under the Social Safety Program. My responsibility as of now, is to establish a playback theatre troupe with local citizens of the city, who were affected by ISIS. The troupe’s aims is to be able to counter narratives of violence and extremism by using the power of playback theatre.
At the same time, I happily decided to support one colleague to start her journey and experience with playback theater in Syria, by creating the first playback theater group in the city of Hama. My support included providing her with technical support and mentorship based on my experiences from Tripoli and Mosul.
Currently, I am leading a volunteering program in Tripoli called The Frontlines of Arts. The program aims to reshape the decades-old “frontlines” of the civil war in the local area, changing them from segregated fighting frontlines into inclusive artistic frontlines.
Today, I have a dream to attend a leadership course by the Centre for Playback, so I can work on my accreditation as a playback theater trainer. This step is essential for my personal growth and my career on various levels. It will help me to maintain my work in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with high ethical standards and quality. Knowing that the information and the support I will get from the course of leadership will improve my knowledge and bring me an in-depth understanding of the implementation of playback theatre in different contexts and most importantly in marginalized communities and conflict zones. Meanwhile, I hope I can keep my work in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon alive, as well as going further to start playback groups in Yemen, Sudan and Tunisia, in order to bring new tools for social justice and conflict transformation through arts.
To make my dream come true, I need support from the wider community in raising the tuition fees of the course in Mexico which is 4000 USD in addition to my travel cost of almost 2000 USD.
Please support my dream to attend this course and receive the necessary accreditation, also keeping in mind, that whatever chance I get to learn and improve will be given back to the community with my many projects and ideas inspired by finding access to social justice and conflict transformation by the implementation of arts.
What is leadership?
Playback Theatre Leadership is the culmination of the first 4 levels of the Centre’s Curriculum Pathway. Graduation from this class is compulsory for the application as an Accredited Trainer in Playback.
The PBT Leadership course now includes a ten-week Online Study Segment taught by Jonathan Fox, taking place prior to the active intensive. This training began in March 20, 2019. Through online interaction and discussion, students got to know each other while studying aspects of the work, including history of PBT and the company life.
Students will gather in person for the two-week intensive taught by Hannah Fox and Michael Cheng, from July 20 to August 1, 2020 in Centro Werika, a beautiful retreat in Mexico.
This advanced, comprehensive, in-depth course provides a chance for participants from different regions to share their playback theatre experience in an atmosphere of collegiality and commitment. It will emphasize skill building, especially in conducting challenging situations. It will teach how to balance spontaneity, story, atmosphere, and guidance, to achieve effective Playback Theatre workshops and performances.
It will also confront the issues that face Playback leaders, such as company life, performance standards, and community relations. We will share the joys of our playback journeys, and also study what happens when playback goes wrong. The curriculum will include ethics as well as practical examples of PT at work.
The course ends with a graduation ceremony, where students receive a Diploma.