• Together Beyond Words ~ PlayBack Theater


In January 2018, under the leadership of AWE Director Joyce Beck, Peace Through Commerce awarded a one year Fellowship to the Together Beyond Words  PlayBack Theater Program. The mission of the PlayBack Theater Program is to promote the empowerment of Arab and Jewish women in Israel to bring their voices and unique gifts to the social change and peace building arenas. Their work focuses on the healing of emotional wounds and trauma and the undermining of prejudice as a path towards building a just and peaceful society.

The fellowship was to provide support and training on our Matrix of Peace whole systems model of society. The training demonstrated how the Matrix model is actualized in the work of Together Beyond Words. The PlayBack Theater Program under the leadership of Nitsan Gordon, founder of Together Beyond Words,  and Noa Ma’ayan, project manager, presented six impactful inspiring community events in 2018.  At each event there was sharing of intimate stories on stage and in dialogue circles.  Also Arab and Jewish women entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to sell their products as part of the AWE Product and Empowerment (“PEP”) program instituted years earlier in partnership with Together Beyond Words.

~PTC thanks the following for their contributions to Together Beyond Words PlayBack Theater: Elizabeth and Matthew Hammond, The Redbird Foundation, Philomena Blees, Ken and Joyce Beck, and an anonymous contributor.

From Stage to Change

See their story below:

From Stage to Change Ensemble is the only Arab/Jewish women’s Playback Ensemble in the world.

PlayBack Theater Programs

  • Int’l Women’s Day

    DATE • 8 March 2018

    “This is the year we stopped being silenced as women” said Maya Bolzman, a woman’s rights activist, at the event Together Beyond Words and the Hurfeifsh Lace Embroidery group held in the Druze village of Hurfeish on International Women’s Day. The event sponsored by Peace Through Commerce and the Sobell Foundation. Included a bazaar of Arab and Jewish entrepreneurs, a Playback Theatre performance as well as Listening and Dialogue Circles.

  • Strive For Peace

    DATE • 20 April 2018

    One Arab woman said that today she looks out of her house window, in Nazareth Illit (mostly populated by Jews), towards the village from which her parents and grandparents fled in 1948. There were many years when in her heart there was great sorrow. But today, after working with Jews for common causes, the sorrow has changed in her heart and has become compassion … compassion for all those who participated in the 1948 war, compassion for the conflict situation between two peoples who suffer.

  • Developing Leadership

    DATE • 20 June 2018

    Minimizing inequality and training vision-oriented leadership – these are two of the main goals faced by Israeli society. The “Kav Hazinuk” Association copes with these challenges by training high-quality youth from Israel’s social and geographic outskirts, in a first-of-its-kind in-depth model. The Association’s youth participate in a ten-year training program that starts in high school, continues in their military service and throughout academic studies – enabling them to express and exert their hidden abilities – each in his/her own area.

  • Drama Therapy

    DATE • 25 June 2018

    Our messaging was about the necessity to transform pain so it will not rule our thoughts, behaviors and actions. When we make peace with ourselves, we can go out with this call to our community and lead peace operations.

    Speaker Miss Tufaha Saba, head of the Unit for Peace and Democracy, explained the difference between a charismatic, innate and unchangeable leadership, and the ability to become a leader who does a “leadership act.”

    A leadership act is a “worthy” act that influences and benefits reality.

  • Oneness Event

    DATE • 10 October 2018

    The Oneness Event was wonderful!  “Together Beyond Words” contribution was very big and appreciated. A school in an Arab town called Tamra sent some high school students and teachers to participate in the event – many of the students hardly spoke Hebrew. There were also Jews  in our performance who did not speak Arabic. All  the rest of the event was in Hebrew except for TBWs performance which was in both languages. We felt like real oneness. The setting was amazing and the stage space was outside right next to the Sea of Galilee in a place called Beit Gabriel (the house of Gabriel).

  • Human Rights Day

    DATE • 10 December 2018

    On December 10th, Human Rights Day, we planned an event with Women Wage Peace called “Humans are Humans are Humans” that would bring the issue of human rights, an issue we sometimes take for granted, to public awareness. The plan was that our Playback Theater Ensemble would play back from the stage stories about situations where our rights were honored or not and where we ourselves honored the rights of others or did not. Our students from Tel Hai College who are training to become playback theater…

  • The Quiet Voices Receive a Stage

    SocialTV Published on May 11, 2017



    Playback Theater is not conventional and predictable, it depends on the cooperation between the audience and the actors. From the audience comes a story and the actors reflect it in an abstract and personal way. This festival hosted People with Disabilities, Refugees, Members of the LGBT Community, Immigrants, etc. The festival is therefore called ‘The Quiet Voices Receive a Stage’.

     In Noa Ma’ayan’s words, “the most rewarding parts of these experiences was seeing the happy faces, the hugging of Arab with Jewish women. Perceptions were changed and even if this is the only experience with “the other, “ and they don’t see each other again, the memories go with them. Even if we don’t agree with each other, barriers need to be broken down and every narrative needs to be heard. The authentic self is the voice that needs to be heard. The events have been an influence for good. I don’t think we can summarize more clearly the impact of this Fellowship. Lives will continue to change “peace by peace” because of these events.” 

    Playback Theater is a program of Together Beyond Words.

    Find out more at TBW website

  • Claiming Their Calling

    There is something very powerful that I recently heard from my Palestinian sisters and want to share with you. Sylvia (Christian Arab) and Ghadir (Muslim Arab) on two separate occasions told me of a conclusion they reached…
    Here is the background…For years when I thought about the Palestinian Arabs who live in Israel, I thought of them as victims caught between a rock and a hard place, not accepted and even hated by some of the Israeli Jews (who fear them) and by the Palestinians (who feel betrayed by them). Many times I heard them say: “There is no place where we feel comfortable, at home…” And I felt sad and responsible …
    But according to Sylvia and Ghadir it seems that they are finally finding a place, a calling that is uniquely their own. They are the Peacemakers, the connectors, the ones who can bridge the gap of mistrust, misunderstanding and enmity because they know both sides of the conflict (Israeli and Palestinian) and both cultures better and more intimately than anyone else.
    For the most part they speak both languages fluently, have been immersed in both cultures and have a strong historical background in a hospitality that provides a safe space for any guest who enters their dwelling.
    It is no longer true that they don’t have a place. If they are trained and empowered, if we the Jews can understand the magnitude of their ability and support them in claiming it, then they can take their place as the enablers of Peace in the Middle East…What a concept…May it be so…
    Nitsan Joy Gordon, Director
    The Together Beyond Words Organization

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