Since March 2019, Circle of Sparks has held in-person and online Playback Improv Theater shows and workshops including:
Stories of Caregiving
a public show on caregiving during the Stay at Home order
Race and Reality
a workshop focused on racial justice
Sparks of Healing
two workshops in collaboration with a drama therapist on healing
from the shared trauma of the pandemic
a show for essential hospital workers
Our Keep Going Song
Fall public show on persevering during the pandemic
a show for the transnational feminist collective Women Included
Winter/Spring public show reflecting on a year of life (March 29, 2021)
Lifelong Montclair: Playback for Seniors
a collaboration with the Montclair Senior Advisory Committee (April 2021)
Where the Clear Winds Blow
a live, outdoor public show on Climate Change Impact (November 2021
Made possible by funds from the Essex County Division of Culture Affairs,
a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Beginning in March 2019, Culture Connection Theater launched our Circle of Sparks Playback Improv Theater Project with a company of 15 members. This new community building project combines storytelling and improvisational theater where audience members share their own stories and see them enacted or “played back.”
The project’s mission is to foster connection between people through improv theater. Enacting the stories of others provides an opportunity to increase understanding of one another. Theater allows us to move beyond talking and get into action.
Director and producer Elaine Molinaro and actor and musician Laura Hoffman have trained at the Centre for Playback Theatre to learn this improv method from company founders Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas who were inspired by improv theater, oral history and the psychodrama work of Jacob Moreno.
Playback Theatre has been used as a forum for the exchange of diverse experiences including racial conflict and reconciliation; incarcerated men and women; immigrant and refugee experiences; youth concerns with bullying; interactions with the police; diversity and conduct in the workplace and more. In their Circle of Sparks project Elaine and Laura hope to explore these themes and others in this time of pandemic and protest.
Company members: Nadine Bernard, Debra Caplan, Donna Dimino, Richard Douglass, Jill Falozi, Carlo Fiorletta, Sheri Glorioso, Beth Haessig, Alison LeBrun, David Leegrand, Ron Leir, Alyson Linefsky, Michael McMahon, Arthur Gregory Pugh, Lindsey Sherwin, Joseph Smith, Linda Wielkotz, Cecile Williams, Jessica Wolf