This project was a cross-disciplinary artistic response to the inner world of scientists working on climate change, in which an actor, a dancer, a digital artist and two composer/musicians created scenes in response to interviews. We held three public showings of the ‘work-in-progress’ performance as part of National Science Week.
The performances were very well attended with near sell out crowds on two out of the three shows. The Q & A sessions after the shows sparked deep discussions and indicated that the work was important and had impact. There was great interest from interviewees and audience members alike to see the work continue.
As a result of the robust discussion director Robin Davidson held a workshop the following weekend to help process emotional responses to climate change. There are plans to hold a longer workshop exploring our feelings about climate change, and how we can harness them to help bring about change. Watch this space for further details.
We would like to thank the ACT Government and Ainslie & Gorman Arts Centres for supporting the project and look forward to the next stage of development.
Variety night by people with and without a disability in celebration of International Day for People with a Disability
Canberra is the home of many spectacular artists, many of whom are also people who live with a disability. That's why Rebus Theatre produced “All In”, a variety night for artists with and without disabilities for International Day for People With a Disability 2016.
“All In” featured a range of performances including music, theatre, circus and burlesque with a focus on quality performances. There was a wide variety of themes and genres from comedies about anxiety, to heartfelt music, adapted fairy tales and tales of family woe.
The program featured several well-known Canberra performers including Ruth O'Brien, Katie Senior, Daniel Savage, Cara Matthews and Ben Drysdale as well as performances by up and coming artists such as Joel Swadling and the Xtreme Stars.
“All In” was a first of its kind in the ACT, so audiences had the opportunity to be part of history in the making as they enjoyeed an evening of art, heart, and Razzle Dazzle entertainment.
Supported by ArtsACT and Tuggeranong Arts Centre
Keep Calm and Panic!
A Comedy about Anxiety
In August 2016, Rebus Theatre performed a new original 10 minute comedy entitled "Keep Calm and Panic" at Short n Sweet Theatre, Canberra in the Courtyard Studio at the Canberra Theatre. The piece starred Cara Matthews (Rebus Theatre Producer), Ben Drysdale (Rebus Theatre Associate Producer), and directed by Robin Davidson (Rebus Theatre Artistic Director), and addressed the effects and coping mechanisms experience by people living with anxiety.
The work was written and developed by the cast and director based on the lived experiences encountered in their day to day lives while running Rebus Theatre. It featured a series of quirky coping mechanism, as well as some comical "TV commercials" selling the benefits of living with Anxiety.
Though the show didn’t make the finals of the festival it was a huge success with amazing feedback from audiences. Excerpts of the show were also performed as part of a fundraiser for Beyond Blue at Polit Bar on Friday September 16th entitled "Fck Anxiety".
A cross disciplinary creative development about the effects of living with Trauma
In April 2016 Rebus interviewed two local researchers in the field of trauma studies, five local people with lived experience of living with the effects of trauma, and one interstate researcher who also has lived experience. These interviews were then edited down to about 20 minutes each and played to a creative team of artists - consisting of an actor, and dancer, a musician and video artist -who then responded to the interview material. Though we had set a goal of developing 15-20 minutes of performance we created 37 minutes of original material (including a few minutes of interview material projected) and performed this for an invited audience of approximately 40. The performance addressed a range of issues faced by people with lived experience of trauma through theatre, dance, mask, video projection, song, and instrumental composition.
We were delighted at how quickly material came together, and how well we worked as a team, most of us never having worked together before. While the material we were working with was heavy, there was a joy and lightness in much of the process. We were excited by the pieces we created, and the variety of styles that we were able to use, including interaction with projection, performance poetry, solo dance, naturalistic theatre, mask and one scene that was semi-improvised in the manner of contact improvisation. We all feel that we have a very strong base to create a fully developed work which we applied for further funding for from ArtsACT in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation ACT.
Journeys to Here
Journeys to Here was a project initiated by independent researcher Joy Denise Scott in Perth. Rebus Artistic Director Robin Davidson was approached to lead the project, taking a group of 24 young people from diverse migrant backgrounds through a workshop process over two and a half weeks, that culminated in a performance for World Refugee Day in Perth. Participants were from 13 different countries, with some 25 languages between them. They performed three short plays and a dance piece to an audience of approximately 130 people.
The project was assisted by ASeTTS, the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors and was supported by Curtin University School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts (MCCA) small research/creative production grants and the Community Arts Network WA, which manages the Catalyst Community Arts fund on behalf of the State of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts and is supported by the Mental Health Commission WA.
Not Dead Yet
Rebus Theatre Artistic Director Robin Davidson was approached by Crankit Theatre (formerly Square peg Theatre) in Hobart to work with them to develop and perform an original theatre work about death and dying. Robin worked with Crankit for several short session in 2015 before a three week rehearsal period culminating in two public performances of Not Dead Yet! in early 2016.
Crankit Theatre is a collective of professional Tasmanian performers from a range of backgrounds including clowning, puppetry, cabaret, Playback Theatre, singing and music.
Not Dead Yet! was a medley of short scenes about death and dying, drawing on the cast’s own experiences, our research and the collective imagination. Several members of the cast are – or have recently been – caring for dying family members, and this gave the show an honesty, and a licence to tell the blackest jokes. The scenes flipped between the ridiculous and absurd, to the deeply vulnerable and moving, and back again.
Funding applications are being prepared for a second, longer season of Not Dead Yet to be performed in Hobart in late 2017.
Not Dead Yet! was supported by Kingborough Council, Tasmanian Regional Arts, and Cygnet Arts Council and funded by the Australian Government’s Better Access to Palliative Care in Tasmania Programme, through the Tasmanian Palliative Care ‘Networking End of Life Care’ Project.
Melbourne Fringe Festival
In September 2015, Rebus Theatre was supported by ArtsACT to tour their two Forum Theatre Workplace Training shows to the Melbourne Fringe Festival at the South Melbourne Town Hall Community Hub Theatrette. They held afternoon performances for an invited audience of HR Managers from local businesses and Government Departments and evening shows for the general public.
The tour was a huge success and and both shows were highly regarded by the attending audience for both workplace, and general public performances.
Rebus then went on to Geelong to perform for the National Insurance Disability Agency.