About Us

The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble is a nonprofit theatre company that offers improvisational performances and workshops for community groups, businesses, and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1991, we have worked with schools, hospitals, organizations, social justice and activist groups, religious communities, and conferences. We also perform for private events such as weddings, birthdays and other milestones. We produce performances for the general public from September through June.  At the heart of our work is a profound respect for the power of personal story to build bridges between people and cultures.   

What We Do

We practice a unique form of interactive and improvisational theatre called Playback Theatre, which prioritizes the values of empathy and mutual respect. In our performances, a skilled facilitator, or “Conductor”, elicits a multitude of feelings and personal stories from audience members or “Tellers”. Our ensemble of professional actors and musicians then brings those stories to life in a way that is honoring, illuminating, and transformative. Our events create a respectful atmosphere where any voice can be heard and any story can be told.

In addition to our public and private Playback Theatre performances, we offer classes, workshops, and trainings in Playback Theatre, click below to find out what we’re up to:

Partnerships And Affiliations

In collaboration with The Healing the Wounds of History Project, we have received international recognition for our work in bringing groups in conflict together such as Germans and Jews; Palestinians and Israelis; Japanese, Chinese and Koreans on their legacy of WWII; and Armenians and Turks.

We are part of a global network of Playback Theatre companies through the International Playback Theatre Network and Playback North America. Locally, we are a member of Theatre Bay Area.

Learn More

Explore our history page, to learn more about Playback Theatre and our organization’s roots. You’ll find a selected list of our past performances, as well as links to other places you can find us on the web.