Previous Projects

Not Quite Right

Performance and Forum Theatre 2017-19

Director: Patrick Morris

Partner: The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute, University of Cambridge

Collaborators: Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, Joann Leeding, Helen Gardner

The Ideas Stage and THIS Institute collaborated initially for the launch of THIS Institute in January 2018.  We drilled down into some of the fundamental research questions they were asking, to create ‘Not Quite Right’.  This was the story of a couple’s journey through the health system when one of them suffers a stroke, told through a series of key snapshot scenes along the way.  The project’s aim was to provoke debate about systematic challenges within the NHS.  We worked with Craig Baxter on the script for Not Quite Right, which also received expert input from paramedics, hospital doctors, GPs and nurses – a truly collaborative Ideas Stage script!  Following the successful launch we worked with THIS Institute to create workshops, a film and instructional resources on how to use the play in teaching and engagement settings.  We worked with the Point of Care Foundation, the McPin Institute and the Western Health Trust in Derry to present the workshops.  Audiences included many different grades of NHS workers, patients groups, policy analysts, researchers.

To view the Interactive Video, read the Director’s Notes and the Facilitator’s Guide click here and download pdfs from the page.

Human Rights! Bloody Human Rights!

Forum Theatre Project 2012-14

Director: Patrick Morris

Partners: School of Law, Queen Mary University of London and Amnesty International.

Collaborator: Alan Dignam, Professor of Corporate Law, QMUL

Human Rights! Bloody Human Rights! was our first Ideas Stage project to use forum theatre.  In this project, it was to explore complex and pressing questions around corporate human rights law.  In workshops jokered (facilitated)  by Patrick Morris, we invited audiences to engage directly with the questions thrown up by Alan Dignam’s research which he had distilled into 3 short, provocative plays.  Through performance, vigorous debate, rehearsal of new ideas, and challenges to the characters on stage, the audiences (or ‘spect-actors’) then devised new legislation which formed part of the project’s ultimate documentation.  This allowed the ‘spect-actors’, many of whom had no background in either law or academia, to fully debate and engage with the issues.

Human Rights! Bloody Human Rights! toured the workshop to the following locations:

  • Queens University, Belfast
  • University College, Dublin
  • Amnesty International, London
  • QMUL, London
  • Festival of Ideas, Cambridge

Video- how to create a Human Rights Forum Theatre project

Video- Afterthoughts on the project

This project remains live and we are currently developing plans for international workshops in 2017.  Watch this space and please contact Patrick Morris with any questions.

For more information on the project, visit the project website here.



Pictures of You – ‘What’s Up Doc? Commission 2015-16

Directors: Paul Bourne & Patrick Morris

Dramaturg: Patrick Morris

Partner: MRC-Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge

Collaborators: Professor Emily Holmes and Dr Martina di Simplicio

Pictures of You was Menagerie’s main ‘What’s Up Doc?’ commission at the 2015 Hotbed Festival.  Collaborators Emily Holmes and Martina di Simplicio are researchers into intrusive mental imagery in bipolar disorder and have published widely on the subject.  The text was written by Craig Baxter, a long-time Menagerie associate.

Inspired by their work, Pictures of You explores the differences between verbal and visual thinking, the close relationship between mental imagery and emotion, the effect of intrusive mental images (of both the past and the future) on those who experience them and ways mental imagery can be used in therapy to help them.

Craig Baxter was also fascinated by the links between the imaginative world of theatre and the latest ideas from the neuroscience and psychology of human thought and emotion. Does a play’s script consist of a sequence of words that the characters say? Or are the words mere captions for a series of dynamic images? What is more important for producing emotional engagement with an audience: the words the actors say or the images they create?

Pictures of You was further developed for an interactive event at the MRC-CBU during the Cambridge Science Festival in March 2016.  We are working with Dr di Simplicio to explore the potential of clinical settings for future performances.

What’s Up Doc? (2013)

Partners: Individual academics including Prof. Guy Brown (Univ of Cambridge), Prof. Denise Ferreira da Silva (QMUL), Dr Devorah Baum (Univ of Southampton).

20-minute monologues created from collaboration between playwright and academic.  Performed at Hotbed Festival, Cambridge and toured to Soho Theatre, London.


Acts of Kindness (2013)

Partner: Darwin Correspondence Project

A day of readings from a new play in development, The Altruists, by Craig Baxter, alongside presentations from scientists, science historians and philosophers whose work intersects with the play’s themes.  Part of the Cambridge Science Festival 2013.

Programme for Science Festival – Draft2

Let Newton Be! (2009-12)

Partner: Faraday Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Verbatim play drawn from the writings of Isaac Newton.  Toured UK science festivals and universities in Canada and USA.  Reviewed in ScienceNature, and the Times Higher Educational

Click here to read more about the production.


Re:Design (2007-10)

Partner: Darwin Correspondence Project at the University of Cambridge.

Verbatim play drawn from letters between Charles Darwin and Asa Gray (Harvard University), commissioned for the Darwin 200th anniversary and performed as part of the Cambridge 800 celebrations.  Toured the UK, USA, Canada and Turkey.  Reviewed in Science