Positive Stories for Negative Times is a new national participatory project by Wonder Fools in association with Traverse Theatre. This innovative and exciting project responds to the lack of physical spaces for young people to participate in creative activities due to the pandemic, and instead allows them to come together to make new work online or live in the space if government guidelines allow.

Wonder Fools and the Traverse Theatre have co-commissioned some of the UK’s most exciting voices to write new plays for young people including Sabrina Mahfouz, Stef Smith, Chris Thorpe, Bea Webster and Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse. The plays are written specifically for the times we are living in and will be free to participating groups between the ages of 8 and 25, from September 2020—July 2021. Groups will be sent a handbook of exercises to help explore the play of their choice, and then will be invited to record and upload their performance to our interactive map, which will share and celebrate all the brilliant work from young people across the UK and beyond.

The anthology of plays and handbook is published by Methuen and can be purchased here: www.wonderfools.org/store


The pins on the map below represent all of the groups that are participating in the project.

The Plays

Positive Stories For Negative Times includes 5 exciting new plays written especially for young people aged 8–25 with varying and flexible cast sizes. The playwrights’ only brief was to create something that will bring young people together and to give them a shared experience of making something new and exciting. All plays are very different and are suitable to any group working with young people no matter their size or their experience of making theatre.

Bad Bored Women of the Rooms
by Sabrina Mahfouz

A storytelling adventure through the centuries of women and girls who have spent a lot of time stuck in a room. Ages 18+

Explore Bad Bored Women of the Rooms

Hold Out Your Hand
by Chris Thorpe

A dynamic text asking questions about place, where we are now and the moment we are living through. Ages 13+

Explore Hold Out Your Hand

Is This a Fairytale?
by Bea Webster

A new play that rips apart the traditional fairy-tale canon and turns it on its head in a surprising, inventive and unconventional way. Ages 8+

Explore Is This a Fairytale?

The Pack
by Stef Smith

A playful and poetic exploration about getting lost in the loneliness of your living room and trying to find your way home. Ages 13+

Explore The Pack

by Jack Nurse and Robbie Gordon

A contemporary story inspired by Percy Shelley’s 19th century poem of the same name exploring power, oppression and injustice through the eyes of young people. Ages 16+

Explore Ozymandias

Get Involved

Wonder Fools are inviting any group working with young people aged between 8 and 25 to get involved. All participating groups will be sent their chosen script to perform rights free, a handbook of exercises to help their group explore, perform and record the play, and given a pin on the map where they will be able to upload and share their final performance with other youth groups around the UK and beyond.

Groups can include youth theatres, schools, colleges or anyone working with young people in need of some creativity and connection. No theatre experience is necessary as the handbook provides a step-by-step guide through the process. The entire process is designed to work either live in the space, through blended learning or completely online.

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