Developing social inclusion and community health promotion through performance and theatre-based events: Tonic

In 2006, 100 women from environments likely to put them at risk of developing mental health problems participated in a series of drama workshops which have culminated in the development of a play addressing mental health issues. Open Clasp is a professional participatory drama group from the North East of England that works with women to directly address the complex issues surrounding women's mental health and wellbeing.

This play performed in an educational context at 34 venues across the North East of England and one performance at UCLan in association with COMENSUS, the health service user group, for service users, nursing students and interested others. The audience were health and social care workers with interests in mental health, voluntary organisations, service users, young women from deprived and poor social environments and a range of people interested in these issues. 14 drama workshops discussing the impact and further development of the performance and links with mental health organisations took place facilitated by Open Clasp workers were documented as evidence.

UCLan and Northumbria Universities are working together in an evaluative capacity to disseminate and theoretically develop this method of involving organisations, health professionals and others, providing a mental health perspective in collaboration with the arts perspective through an analysis of the documented evidence from the workshops.

Project Lead

Sue Hacking

Project Staff

Joy Duxbury
Sharon Paterson
Fiona Macpherson


COMENSUS, the health service user group – UCLan


Higher Education Funding Council through the URBAN REGENERATION – Making a Difference, Knowledge Transfer Unit, Strategic Development Fund

Further Information

Conference presentations 2007 Urban Regeneration Showcase, GMEX Manchester, Northumbria
Dissemination: in planning for 2008, article.