Director/Writer, Joy Unspeakable is is a new piece of verbatim theatre for women, girls and their allies. It explores eating disorders – why they are all about food, and nothing to do with food.

Joy Unspeakable began life in June 2016 as a Works-in-Progress piece at the Octagon Theatre Bolton’s REVEAL Season (see pics below). At that point it was a site-specific, contemporary theatre piece, staged in an intimately sized cafe. It provided an up close and personal insight into the often hidden, inner world of bulimia and raised universal questions of identity and mental health, using a combination of physical storytelling and immersive soundscape.

In summer 2017 further development took place on the public engagement work connected with the piece. This was developed via ten Applied Theatre workshops exploring self-esteem, body image and eating disorders with over sixty young people and vulnerable adults in Bolton and Halifax who identified as having mental health difficulties. These workshops were facilitated in partnership with a number of organisations including Headspace Bolton, Bolton at Home, Bolton Lads and Girls Club and Orange Box.

Subsequently, Joy Unspeakable has evolved into a verbatim show, currently in development for public performance in 2022, that will invite audiences to join the conversation about recovery and consider whether medicalised definitions of mental ill health in fact mask more profound disorders in our culture and way of life.

               JU 2

JU 4               JU 3

JU 5               JU 6

Cast and Creative Team

Director / Devisor / Producer – Amy Hailwood

Sound Design – Ian Martin

Assistant Choreographer – Jonn Oommen

‘Lucy’ – Julie Hill