Make your own free website on

paperbag playback is now OUT OF THE BOX THEATRE!


Meet Our Players

Out of the Box Theatre Company

Our players possess a diverse and rich mix of personal and professional skills, and life experiences. Their backgrounds include the performing and visual arts, therapeutic and counselling practice, and community and corporate facilitation, mediation and training.

CHERYL Alexander               DAN Collinson                    JULIA Dilli  
            JANET Linnell                BRENDAN McPhillips               PETER O'Connell          
JACKIE  Rawlings                    WARREN Werksman              SALLY Swain

Brendan McPhillips has been involved in the world of improvised theatre for the past 15 years and specifically in Playback Theatre since 2000. He trained with Drama Action in the early 90’s and developed a passion for performance using the techniques of spontaneous response. He is deeply committed to the process of playback, which he sees as a vehicle for valuing and honouring the ‘everyday’ stories that make up and transform our lives.

Cheryl Alexander was first captivated by impro theatre in 2000 and loves its spontaneity and playfulness. Originally a member of Blue Mountains Playback Theatre Company, Cheryl weaves the expressive and playful nature of playback into her work with teams and groups to create connection and understanding.  “There is an underlying commonality that unites us through our life experiences and when these are brought to life on the playback stage, it validates the teller and touches the audience”.

Dan Collinson has been an enthusiastic improviser for several years. Introduced to Interplay in 2003, and Contact Improvisation in 2005, his passion for creative, authentic expression has grown and developed, drawing him to Playback Theatre in 2006.  ”Deep down, I believe that everyone yearns for what they say to be heard and validated. In Playback Theatre, you see this in action, when what you share literally comes to life!” Dan works as a Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor, and also teaches Interplay to both children and adults.

Jackie Rawlings started dancing at the age of 3 and by 15 was teaching dance and movement. Jackie is now Choreographer, Principal Adjudicator, Teacher Trainer and Music Producer for the Australian BjP School of Physical Culture.  When she came to Playback Theatre in 2004 Jackie discovered the ancient tradition of telling and performing stories as a means of cultural sharing and is still passionate about transforming people’s life stories into theatre.  “To play back someone’s story is to give them a gift – to hold up a mirror and show them what their life looks like from the other side”.

Janet Linnell was introduced to spontaneous theatre in 1982 through Sydney Drama Action.  Since that time she has continued to train across the arts in areas including voice, mask work, movement and dance.  Janet was drawn to Playback because of the heart-warming way it brings together actors and audience to co-create theatre right in the moment. “I love Playback because it searches out the truth of each story in a form of theatre which is respectful, edgy, and entertaining”.  Janet is a trained Somatic Therapist and has also trained in Psychodrama.

Julia Dilli commenced acting and drama studies in her teens, and built upon this through academic studies culminating in a Grad. Dip. Ed. in Drama and English.  She has trained with the Drama Action Centre as well as undertaking other training opportunities in movement and voice.  Since becoming a founding member of PaperBag PlayBack Theatre in 1997, Julia has continued to witness both professional and personal development through the application of group process and the facilitation of story telling.  While continuing to develop her lifelong passion for the expressive arts, Julia also works as a Diversional Therapist in mental health and as a Systematic Therapist.

Peter O’Connell has worked for over two decades as a facilitator with both community and corporate groups. Originally joining Hunter Region Playback Theatre in 2000 he has remained an active playback performer and conductor ever since.  Accredited with the Australian Institute of Group Leaders (AIGL), and an adherent to the principles and practices of Open Space Technology, he strives to create spaces as catalysts for participants to discover and optimise their full and collective potential. “For me Playback offers an elegant and powerful way for groups to gain a greater appreciation of what it is that they share in common”. As part of his postgraduate studies in Alternative Dispute Resolution Peter explored the relationship between conflict resolution, group processes, and action methods including Playback.

Warren Werksman is a counselling psychologist with a passion for intuitive and improvised theatre.  He has focused on performance that captures personal experience through various expressive media including physical theatre, dance, spoken word and acrobatics.  For Warren improvised theatre captures a creative flow that passes from the audience to the actor and back again.  It is charged, emotional, evocative, and often humorous and playful.  When the audience has a feeling that we have reflected an important part of their experience, that’s when we’re at our greatest.  “I want the audience to leave my performances, having engaged in a unique personal experience!”.


And currently on leave from troupe is Sally Swain who was fortunate to be encouraged from an early age to paint, write, sing, dance and put on plays in the garden shed. She is the creator of four books, including ‘Great Housewives of Art’ and ‘Once upon a Picture’. She runs Art and Soul - helping individuals and groups free up creatively. At a 40th birthday party in the early 1990s Sally found herself playing an 8 year old ‘fortune teller’. While she had never seen Playback before, she loved the feeling of being immersed in deep play and being able to offer something of value to others at the same time. Drama Action, Playback and Psychodrama training followed, and in 1997 Sally founded PaperBag PlayBack theatre.  Today she still loves the fabulous combination of self-expression and service to others that playback theatre offers.  Sally holds a BA Hons Psych, Dip Ed Art, and is an accredited Hart Life coach.

Out of the Box 2009          Ph:  +61 (0)414 294 047          e-mail:
Privacy                                           Disclaimer