Cherwell Theatre Company (CTC) will produce ‘Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore,’ a new 'Dungeons and Dragons' inspired play in partnership with Arts Council England, Artswork and the Oxfordshire Cultural Education Partnership.
Tristan Jackson-Pate, the CTC artistic director, who has written the play with Jess Lloyd-Jones and Krage Brown, said: "Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore is inspired in part by the young people we work with, who are passionate about Dungeons and Dragons (“DnD”) but experience social anxiety. In our play Sam is depressed and Zoe can't seem to reach him, so she designs an interactive adventure to play with an audience, in a last ditch attempt to save their relationship."
Gaming culture has recently been making headlines with online DnD groups thriving over lockdown and research showing engagement with RPGs can improve players’ empathy, frustration tolerance and problem solving skills.
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Tristan said: "We were partially inspired by a US charity, Game to Grow who have pioneered therapeutic DnD experiences for young people with anxiety, ADHD & Aspergers.
"They've seen amazing results from participants who won't attend therapy but increase their confidence, social interaction and sense of well-being through playing these wonderfully imaginative games. We’ve partnered with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Oxfordshire Response for this project, to promote honest conversations around mental health and explore communication in relationships, though with a light, comedic touch."
Actor Jess Lloyd-Jones, who was last seen in CTC's Myth II in 2021 joins Krage Brown as a returning actor/writer for this production.
Jess Lloyd-Jones said: "Self care is so important but changing negative habits which affect our mental health can be easier said than done. Talking about it is the first step, and I'm excited to explore this through the fantasy world of DnD with CTC's young people."
With students from Banbury and Oxford City Colleges and young people from the company’s youth groups taking part, Cherwell Theatre Company is offering a free opportunity for new participants aged 11+ to help explore the concept during the upcoming half term holiday.
Tristan Jackson-Pate said: "We're especially interested in hearing from those with a passion for fantasy gaming. We'll be working throughout February half term at Banbury College, so if you're interested in taking part in our afternoon sessions, please email [email protected]".
To book tickets for the show or to get involved in its development, please visit www.cherwelltheatrecompany.co.uk/sam-and-zoe-vs-evermore