Happy You Forum Theatre

Happy You's forum theatre is a transformative experience for players and audiences alike. Our performance artists, who have been involved in varying degrees with the justice system, draw on their life experiences to co-write and perform a piece of forum theatre.

In this style of theatre, the main character faces some kind of adversity or challenge. The situation for this character deteriorates and ultimately the outcome is negative. At the end of the performance, the audience is given the opportunity to reflect on what they have seen and discuss among themselves what the character could have done differently to change the situation for a more positive result.

The piece is then performed a second time. The audience is invited to shout “Freeze!” at any point during each scene and step into the performance to either take the place of the main character or add a character for support. The audience member then plays out the scene using their idea of a different approach to create a better outcome.  This interaction allows the audience to walk in the shoes of the performers while providing a medium for ‘live brainstorming’ and offering pathways for change that otherwise may not have been considered.  

Happy You uses forum theatre as a catalyst for positive change for those who wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity or inclination to seek out the arts as a means of expression. The collaborative process promotes teamwork, tolerance and compromise whilst exposing members of the team to alternative viewpoints and ideas.  Happy You theatre is about conquering fears, building empathy and stepping outside the comfort zone in a safe environment. The plays we create are captivating with an unassailable authenticity. 

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"Ruth's work with offenders is transformational, as she creates the space for them to discover their own light, talent and confidence. Having experienced one of Ruth’s forum theatre shows with inmates inside a correctional facility, I can’t wait to see what she creates with the Happy You Theatre Company and those lucky enough to be part of her team."
Ingrid Leary, Labour Party