Drama group from Saffron Walden asked to perform in parliament
PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 October 2016
An immersive and interactive theatre company based in Saffron Walden have been invited to entertain Parliament next month.
Hyper Fusion will perform Boy, a true story about a young gay man who faces homophobia from his friends that starts as ‘banter’, but escalates until an incident at a party changes his life forever.
The scripted play is 45 minutes long, but after that the audience are split into groups and asked to each direct one character – their decisions affect the outcome of the play from then onwards.
If the scenario goes horribly wrong for the characters, the actors will go back and start again, asking the audience to redirect over and over until everyone in the play has a happy ending.
This is designed to teach the audience, who are normally school and college children, how to handle situations in the best possible way.
All of the actors are specialists in interactive theatre, are not allowed to improvise, and will follow exactly what the audience tell them to do.
Sarah Ellis, 48, artistic director of Hyper Fusion, said she will sometimes throw in a curve ball to prove a point.
An example would be, she said, if in a play about bullying the audience wants the character to tell their mum about it, she will ask the actor to deliberately be too busy to listen, which would force the audience to overcome obstacles that might arise in real life.
On November 17 the group will perform Boy in the Macmillian Room at Portcullis House, which is an office building of Westminster, and it is unknown whether Prime Minister Theresa May will be there.
The group have also been approached by an interested West End producer, but nothing has been arranged yet.
Sarah said: “It is really exciting, it’s just lovely to be able to share everything we are doing with adults as well as young people, and adults who are part of change in society, who have the power to change things.
“The more that we hear the problems, we are seeing it is just much bigger than we realised. There are young people who are killing themselves because of who they are, which isn’t acceptable.
“There is this thinking that homophobia isn’t an issue any more, but it is.”
Boy will tour in London, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Manchester throughout November, and then down to Brighton in February, and Saffron Walden Town Council have just given the group £570 so they can show the play to children at Saffron Walden County High School.
Southwark council have also recently awarded the theatre group with £28,000 to perform in schools in the borough.
The group have been creating issue based drama for around ten years, and have focussed on things like sexual health and consent, bullying, and domestic abuse.
They were also nominated for National Diversity Awards in the community group category, but were unfortunately not shortlisted.