Even told the golden daffodils

There’s a song. It begins:

Once I had a secret love

It ends:

Now I shout it from the highest hills

Even told the golden daffodils


At last my heart’s an open door

And my secret love’s no secret any more.

Sally Swain art

Daffy and Friends
Sally Swain © original art

And my secret love is….

Playback Theatre. Well kind of. Secret in that I seem to keep it separate from other parts of my life. Have I mentioned PBT in this blog before? If not, it’s time.

Art and Soul Space

is about creativity.


is massively creative.

Do you know Playback Theatre? Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas birthed it in the 1970s – a sort of fusion of psychodrama and community theatre – the theatre of truth – theatre for every body.

An audience member shares an experience from their life. A team of actors and musicians spontaneously ‘plays back’ their experience.

A Playback performer listens deeply to the ‘teller’. Then somehow, magically, (with years and months and hours of practising the forms), instantaneously enacts the essence of the story. This is done in a team. You don’t have to do it alone.

Playback Theatre Out of the Box

Paper Bag Playback (which morphed into Out of the Box Theatre)
performing at Wholistic Business Network  around 2004

I see Playback as

a form of creative mirroring, as a way to affirm our everyday experience, to bring it to life. I see it as helping us find the universal in the particular. It connects us. It’s amazing. Of course I’d say that. It is my not-so-secret love.

daffodil painting Swain

Pure and Simple
Sally Swain © original art

I discovered … sort of fell into … Playback at a 40th birthday party in the 1990s. Unusually, I found myself acting in a story, and another and another; actually DOING Playback before I’d even seen it. I was enchanted.

In 1997 I founded a troupe.

It was an enormous part of my life.

I left in a raggedy heap after twelve years.

The troupe changed from this:

paper bag playback flyer

Paper Bag Playback

to this:

Out of the Box Theatre

Out of the Box

Here’s the thing.

There are Playback Theatre companies around the whole world.

From Fiji to Finland,

from Italy to Israel.


You didn’t know it existed? How come more people haven’t heard of it? Beats me. It’s healing, transformative, nourishing, community-building. Yet PBT seems to lurk, swim and shimmy below the surface of mainstream culture.

Here’s an explanatory video from Melbourne PBT 

I’ve kernoodled around and found a longer video from Toronto PBT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2wR2V8Q_kg

So last year there was an Australia-New Zealand ‘Gathering of Elves’ Playback meet-up in Hobart.

My visual diary revealed this

collage playback theatre

Twenty Years of Playback Broth of Life (or is it 20,000 years?)

And this

resurgence collage paintage Swain

(what a wonderful word and concept)

And this.

zen circle colour paint

Full Circle.
Hmmm interesting…It’s CALLED Full Circle, but the circle looks empty to me. Colourful, yet empty.

And now? After a nine year absence from Out of the Box Theatre, my home troupe, the one I birthed and which became a wayward youth? The troupe has matured. Several remarkable people kept it alive, fed and watered.

I’ve re-joined.

There has been a Resurgence

and the Circle is Full.


Now I shout it from the highest hills

Even told the golden daffodils

At last my heart’s an open door

And my secret love’s no secret any more.

Do you have a secret or not-so-secret long-term love?

with love, art and soul from Sally

Sally Swain art

Daffy and Friends
Sally Swain © original art


4 thoughts on “Even told the golden daffodils

  1. Amazing amazing, that’s truly amazing Sally! I love Playback too. I joined Living Stories Playback Theatre group here in Melbourne – rehearsed with them for a year, then just as I was ready to perform the group folded. I still enjoy Melbourne Playback and have some mates there. It is a most remarkable improvisatory form.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well there ya go…unexpected partners in Playback joy. Sorry to hear the group folded just as you were poised to perform. Drat! Are there other practise opportunities in Melb? Can you perhaps co-create something with other keen beans?


  2. Thanks Sal, i enjoyed reading about your not-so-secret love of PB theatre,
    Also struck by the difference between the 2 company postcards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay Julia!!! Welcome here. Glad you enjoyed. And yeah – I noticed the difference too. Between the look and feel of the postcards. My sense is that the two disparate flows of energy have merged much more now. Out of the Bag? Just kidding. Who needs another name change? xxx


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