The world premiere of Emily Jenkins’ pioneering new play Cookies is being supported by Lily Allen, Ted Reilly, Maddy Hill and Lady Viola Grosvenor, who will act as Ambassadors to the Cyberscene Project – a venture which uses theatre to tackle cyberbullying.
Cyberscene is an inspirational theatre initiative which supports the health and wellbeing of young people affected by cyberbullying. Through a series of theatre-based workshops, the project has explored the key concerns and issues facing young people in today’s digital landscape, collaborating with 120 students across four London colleges.
25 of the original 120 students will perform alongside a cast of established actors in Cookies, directed by Olivier Award nominee Anna Ledwich. Cookies explores the risks faced online, how their effects can accumulate beyond control and how solidarity can be found in a combination of online and offline interactions. Shedding light on sexting and revenge porn, as well as showing the devastating effects of repeated and accumulative verbal abuse through text messages and online comments, Cookies clearly illustrates the rampant nature of online communications and the serious legal and lasting implications which thoughtless behaviour online can have. While looking both at the positive ways young adults socialise and learn online, the play also touches on the negatives of the internet, including grooming, catfishing and radicalisation, helping to explain the extremes that can happen behind the anonymous screen.
Lily Allen, Ted Reilly, Maddy Hill and Lady Viola Grosvenor will each take on a role in supporting the students involved with the Cyberscene Project by listening to their experiences, taking part in the Cyberscene workshops, offering advice and helping raise awareness of these issues.
For Lily Allen, the project is a chance for people to talk more openly about their online experiences. She says: As someone who’s well aware of the potentially distressing aspects of being online, I’m thrilled to be working with and supporting the Cyberscene project and such a vibrant, inspiring group of young people. I believe that allowing them to tell their stories and share them so widely through the play Cookies will equip us all with the tools to
combat the adverse effects of cyberbullying head-on.
Ted Reilly, familiar to many as ‘Johnny Carter’ in EastEnders, met the students involved to hear their experiences of cyberbullying which inspired Cookies. He comments: “Theatre has an unrivalled power to advocate change by creating communities of impassioned people ready to challenge your perceptions. Watching such vibrant, enthusiastic young students working together, listening to each other and learning from each other was totally inspiring. Their experiences of cyberbullying will be immortalised in a script which will go on to be spoken by others and which will hopefully inspire a wider awareness into some of the digital issues facing them. This is exactly why I’m so proud to be part of Cyberscene.”
Cyberscene has been created by the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust in partnership with The Pureland Foundation and children’s charity Kidscape. The project has been delivered under the artistic guidance of renowned British theatre director, Jonathan Church CBE.
Performance Dates Sunday 29th October 2017, 3pm and 6.30pm
Running time 80 Minutes
Twitter @MasterclassTRH, @TRH_London, #CookiesPLAY
Project Artistic Adviser Jonathan Church CBE
Playwright Emily Jenkins
Director Anna Ledwich
Creative Producer Rhiannon Newman-Brown
Set and Costume Designer Frankie Bradshaw
Lighting Designer Elliot Griggs
Sound Designer/Composer Max Pappenheim
Movement Director Natasha Khamjani
Casting Director Ellie Collyer-Bristow
Sosa Leaphia Darko
Salena Rujenne Green
Rayah Shala Nyx
Eva Cristal Cole
Simon Makir Ahmed
Andy Bradley Cumberbatch
JC Joe Pierson
Location Theatre Royal Haymarket, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HT