International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 457–470 | Cite as

Using Theatre to Study Interaction with Care Robots

  • Elizabeth Jochum
  • Evgenios Vlachos
  • Anja Christoffersen
  • Sally Grindsted Nielsen
  • Ibrahim A. Hameed
  • Zheng-Hua Tan
Continuing Education


This paper describes an innovative approach for studying interaction between humans and care robots. Using live theatrical performance, we developed a play that depicts a plausible, future care scenario between a human and a socially assistive robot. We used an expanded version of the Godspeed Questionnaire to measure the audiences’ reactions to the robot, the observed interactions between the human and the robot, and their overall reactions to the performance. We present our results and propose a methodology and guidelines for using applied theatre as a platform to study human robot interaction (HRI). Unlike other HRI studies, the subject of our research is not the user who interacts with the robot but rather the audiences observing the HRI. We consider the technical and artistic challenges of designing and staging a believable care scenario that could potentially influence the perception and acceptance of care robots. This study marks a first step towards designing a robust framework for combining applied theatre with HRI research.


Care robots Entertainment robots Assistive robots Applied theatre Social Human-Robot Interaction 



This work is (partially) funded by the The Danish Council for Independent Research \({\vert }\) Technology and Production Sciences (Grant DFF – 1335-00162). The authors wish to thank Xiaodong Duan, Nicolai Bæk Thomsen, Jakob Højgård Jørgensen, Niels Valentin, Steen Jørgensen, and John Nybo Larsen for their help on the iSocioBot project ( We also wish to thank the reviewers for their insight and encouragement. The play was produced at Theatre Nordkraft in Aalborg, Denmark and at Copenhagen Theatre Circle Fringe Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark (


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Jochum
    • 1
  • Evgenios Vlachos
    • 2
  • Anja Christoffersen
    • 1
  • Sally Grindsted Nielsen
    • 1
  • Ibrahim A. Hameed
    • 3
  • Zheng-Hua Tan
    • 2
  1. 1.Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  3. 3.Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyÅlesundNorway

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