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One of the most significant public health measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended periods of ‘lockdown’, whereby whole populations have been advised to remain in their households. There are increasing calls to understand the impacts of this lockdown and of the subsequent school closures on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic. After discussions with teachers and youth leaders, we decided to devise ISOLATED. At first it was offered as an Online project, it will now be touring schools and community centres in 2022.

ISOLATED consists of four drama workshops that will discuss a series of subjects related to mental health and COVID-19 through drama.

As well as creating an awareness of mental health and reflecting on the impact of lockdown and the pandemic on young people’s mental health, this project will be an opportunity for participants to:

  • Express their feelings.
  • Tell their story.
  • Act/work out issues and problems.
  • Boost their self-confidence.
  • Increase their sense of play and spontaneity.
  • Develop trust.
  • Work out relationship issues.
  • Improve their interpersonal/social skills.
  • Strengthen or expand their roles in their personal life.
  • Increase their mental and emotional flexibility.

They will also support us by looking at what can be done to help.

Each session has a specific theme related to mental health and COVID-19 and uses different drama techniques in an attempt to introduce students to various techniques used in theatre in education/social issues plays, as well as using the most suited techniques to each theme. For example, to portray common mental health issues we use monologues to explore what we can do individually; forum theatre when discussing how to Identify normal mental health; improvisation, etc.

Each workshop is suitable for one class. (approx. 20 participants).

Two actors and a workshop facilitators run each workshop and perform the short plays/monologues.


Isolated 2022 Tour

Jan 20 – Jan 28

Feb 7 – Feb 18

Mar 14 – Mar 25

Email us at to book your performance and your workshop(s)

SESSION 1: Identifying normal mental health. What is normal, and what does it look like? When does it become abnormal? Factors affecting mental health in our lives. Discuss how lockdown/the pandemic affected our normal mental health.

SESSION 2: Starting to explore what we can do individually. Action plans, SOLER listening skills, simple ways to overcome loneliness, discussing worries about school, the future, and mental health; the impacts of lockdown on parents/carers; worries about financial security; homelife, etc.

SESSION 3: Common mental health issues. Stress: What is it and what does it look like? Depression: How would we know? Anxiety: What is it what does it look like? Eating disorders and self-harm as unhealthy coping strategies for anxiety.

SESSION 4: Mentally healthier in youth organisations (schools, youth centres, young and homeless hostels, etc.). Here, we look at what can be done to help and what we can do in our environments.


Lockdown, for me, has been a time to reflect. [For] Most of the days in lockdown, I felt myself revisiting events or people from my past; however, with the time to myself that lockdown had brought, I was revisiting these things with an abundance of thoughts; sometimes the way I thought about certain things made me spiral out of control and at many points over the last few months I found myself in very, very dark places.

-Aaron Mann (Year 11, Finham Park School)


To shed some light on this matter, MIND carried out a survey with 2,011 young people with a history of mental health problems between Friday September 15 and Wednesday September 30, shortly after schools had reopened. The findings showed:

·69% of the respondents described their mental health as ‘poor’ now that they were back at school; this had risen from 58% who described their mental health as ‘poor’ before returning to school.

·40% of the respondents said there was no school counsellor available to support the students in their school.

·Only 27% had had a one-to-one conversation with a teacher or other member of staff in which they were asked about their wellbeing by the time they completed the survey.

·Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said that there was less mental health support in their school than before the pandemic, whilst only 9% agreed that there was more mental health support.

Playwriting Competition OPEN!

Enter Sudden Productions’ Latest Playwriting Competition!

Our playwriting competition is part of our ISOLATED project, which focuses on the impact of lockdown on young people’s mental health.

The three winning scripts are guaranteed to be performed on-stage by professional actors at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham in 2022. The shortlist will be judged by Sudden Production’s Artistic Director and Professional Playwrights.

This is a superb opportunity for first-time playwrights aged 11-19.

One of the most significant public health measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended periods of ‘lockdown’, where whole populations have been advised to remain in their households. As a result of this, a wealth of young people have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic, with almost every young person having had to adjust to dramatic changes in their education or employment, routine, and home life.



Entries should last 10 minutes (maximum) in performance. A one-act play is 9-12 pages with four characters or less.

The theme will be ‘isolated’ and the competition is open to first-time playwrights aged 11-19.

Competitors may submit one script only.


December 6, 2021

The winner will be announced on December 11, 2021.

Please email your short play to to enter.


A good one-act play focuses on one main action or problem; there’s not enough time to get into complicated layers of the plot! Hence, it’s a good idea to keep your play to one set and as few scenes as possible. As highlighted previously, a one-act play is 9-12 pages with four characters or less. Many great resources are available online; search ‘writing one-act plays’ to research these.


Isolation is now often thought of in the context of the pandemic, but there are many ways you can explore this theme. Ask yourself what the play is about. Revenge? Self-discovery? Romance? Your mind needs to be clear about this theme, and your characters and plots need to point to and support this theme.

Determine the place for the hero, where all can be either won or lost. The events leading to this can be left unshown to the audience. However, the events that follow must be inferable or understandable by the audience.


  • There is not much area to develop a whole cast of characters. Hence, the limit here is four.
  • The hero’s/protagonist’s character needs to be more developed and focused than any of the other characters.
  • The antagonist can be developed to show conflict.
  • Some other characters can also be developed a little to move the story forward.


  • Economy is the key aspect here.
  • Each line must be crafted carefully, with a focus on the theme, incident, and protagonist.
  • The dialogues doesn’t need to be terse, but concise and meaningful.
  • Dialogue irrelevant to the plot must be altered or omitted immediately.