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 cyber bullying.
Cyberscene is an inspirational theatre initiative which supports the health and wellbeing of young people affected by cyber bullying. 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. 28 of the original 120 students will perform alongside a cast of established actors in Cookies, directed by Olivier Award nominee Anna Ledwich.
Cookies follows seven teenagers dealing with the effects of sexting, radicalisation, cyberbullying and our wider digital world…
Sosa is a tough, gay, streetwise Londoner who finds solace in the tunes of her favourite rap artist, but her online world comes crashing down when she finally meets her idol.
Meanwhile Eva, an aspiring vlogger, splits with gamer Simon and is forced to deal with the devastating effects of sexting and repetitive online abuse.
Selena, infatuated with pop star Zayn, starts chatting with another faceless superfan online. As a result of their conversations the young Muslim woman begins to grapple with her faith and is persuaded to make a long journey to an unknown fate.
The play takes us on an astonishing digital journey which sheds light on sexting, radicalisation and cyber bullying; promising to redefine how we perceive our online world.
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 cyber bullying head-on.”
Ted Reilly, familiar to many as ‘Johnny Carter’ in EastEnders, met the students involved to hear their experiences of cyber bullying 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 cyber bullying 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.”
The Cyberscene Project 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.