Takeover 2017: Hikikomori/Side Effects: A Double Bill at Rich Mix

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A theatre double bill intended to spark discussion and debate

Hikikomori uses elements of forum theatre, spoken word and music to spark discussion and debate around men's mental health. Hikikimori is the Japanese word for the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males. This new piece explores how we address men's mental health when we live in an age where young people are being asked to express themselves on every platform available from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, but risk shaming for showing a weakness or asking for help.

Using elements of Forum Theatre, the audience have the chance to put themselves in the main character's shoes and embark on a journey of self-discovery that could potentially inspire a positive movement within the culture of men's mental health. The play was created by acclaimed theatre company Cardboard Citizens' young Members in collaboration with High Rise Theatre, all of whom have experience or are vulnerable to homelessness, as part of its ongoing ACT NOW programme.

In Side Effects, A group of young people are quarantined for a mysterious clinical trial, but when strange side effects start to occur, the group must decide whether the results are really worth the human cost involved.


For the performance there will be monologues, live music using guitar, spoken word rap and theatre. We will also be inviting the audience to participate in a discussion and create scenes from the narrative already set out.


Kiri Grant is Cardboard Citizens' Young person's Delivery manager. Cardboard Citizens works with young people to use theatre as a powerful tool to spark discussion and explore self-expression. Kiri has extensive training within Forum Theatre and the methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed. Most recently she has been working with young people to create a concept album.

Terry O'Leary is an Associate Artist of Cardboard Citizens. Terry has worked extensively with young group across the country developing and devising stories around issues young people have identified. Her most recent project was with 16-25 year olds living in hostel accommodation in Bristol, using Forum Theatre to present the issues around young people and street homelessness.

Purple Moon Drama is a performing arts theatre company for young people who would like to learn to act, have fun and grow in confidence.

Venue Details & Map

Rich Mix

35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road
E1 6LA
+44 (0)20 7613 7498
Public transport:
Shoreditch High Street Station - Exit the station, turn out on to Bethnal Green Road. Turn right and cross over the road. Rich Mix is located a short distance along the road.

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