Collaboratory Podcast

Co-creating social change through theatre: A Conversation with Robin Davidson & Ali Clinch

by | 28 Jul, 2023

Collaboratory Season 1
Collaboratory Season 1
Co-creating social change through theatre: A Conversation with Robin Davidson & Ali Clinch

How can we use theatre to create spaces for authentic dialogue, empathy and seeing from new perspectives? Spaces where people can play together, create together and take action on issues of personal and social importance? Find out in this episode of Collaboratory Conversations, where we bring you an edited interview with Canberra-based theatre company, Rebus Theatre. Speaking with Robin Davidson and Ali Clinch, we explore:

  • How Rebus use a variety of applied theatre methods, including Forum Theatre and Playback Theatre, to influence social change and why they can be so effective at helping to change mindsets, attitudes and ultimately behaviours, of audience members
  • How using applied theatre methods can foster spaces where people feel seen, heard and understood, which then can then lead to more authentic co-creation
  • The intentional practices and mindsets Rebus use to scaffold people’s participation, and what difference that makes to both the process and outcomes of their shows


To ensure accessibility we are committed to providing transcripts of all our podcast episodes – you can read the full transcript here.


Forum Theatre, developed by Brazilian theatre director Agosto Boal, is a form of applied theatre in which audience members are active participants in how the story is played out.

Playback Theatre is another form of applied theatre in which audience members tell stories from their own lives and watch as actors and musicians enact them in the show.

Access all areas is Rebus’ Workplace Accessibility and Inclusion Training program that uses Forum Theatre to help workplaces, communities and service providers feel more equipped and at ease in assisting customers, employees and clients with disability.

Flair – The Rebus program in which people with disability and lived experience of mental ill health devise an original performance. The Beauty Thief was the 2021 show that was produced as part of this program.

What if Scientists Ruled the World? was a Rebus production in 2021 that used the Forum Theatre method to engage the audience in an intriguing alternate world where science just might save humanity, or destroy it, depending on how it is used. Watch the recording of the this interactive show here.


Robin is the founding and Artistic Director of Rebus Theatre and Workplace Training, a Canberra-based mixed ability theatre for social change company. He is also an actor, clown, director, teacher and writer.  

You can find Robin online on Rebus Theatre website

Ali Clinch is an award-winning practitioner in Applied Theatre, the application of performing arts for social change and the Artistic Director for ‘Acting With Ali’

You can find Ali online on Acting With Ali website

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Instagram – @collaboratorypodcast

Collaboratory is written, edited and produced by Maya Haviland with production and editorial assistance from Nicole Deen. Audio engineering by Nick McCorriston. Music made especially for us by Seprock. Additional research and production support by Yichen Li.

Collaboratory is produced on the lands of the Ngunnawal, Ngunawal and Ngambri people.We pay our respects, an ongoing gratitude to the custodian’s past present and future of the lands on which we work and of the knowledges from which we learn.

Collaboratory is a production of the Scaffolding Cultural Co-creativity Project hosted by the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies in the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University funding is generously provided by the Australian National University Translational Fellowship Scheme.


Hosts: Maya Haviland, Nicole Deen, Audio Engineer: Nick McCorriston, Featured guests: Jenny Savigny, Stephen Corey