A new interactive play being developed at Banbury is set to tour schools in Oxfordshire

A new interactive ‘play theatre’ play is being developed in Banbury called ‘Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore’ and is set to tour schools in Oxfordshire as well as theaters in parts of the UK this spring.

Cherwell Theater Company (CTC) will produce ‘Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore’, a new play inspired by ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ in partnership with Arts Council England, Artswork and the Oxfordshire Cultural Education Partnership.

Tristan Jackson-Pate, CLC’s Artistic Director, who wrote the piece with Jess Lloyd-Jones and Krage Brown, said, “Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore is partly inspired 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 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 been in the news lately with online DnD groups thriving through lockdown and research showing that engaging with RPGs can improve empathy, frustration tolerance and problem-solving skills. players.

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Tristan said: “We were partly inspired by an American charity, Game to Grow, which pioneered therapeutic DnD experiences for young people with anxiety, ADHD and Aspergers.

“They have seen amazing results in participants who will not be attending therapy but will increase their confidence, social interaction and sense of well-being by playing these wonderfully imaginative games. We have partnered with the association charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Oxfordshire Response for this project, to promote honest conversations about mental health and explore communication in relationships, but with a light, comedic twist.”

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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 the negative habits that 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 fantastic world of DnD with the young people of the CTC.

With the participation of students from Banbury and Oxford City colleges and young people from the company’s youth groups, Cherwell Theater Company is offering a free opportunity for new entrants aged 11 and over to help explore the concept during the next mid-term holidays.

Tristan Jackson-Pate said: “We are particularly interested in hearing from those with a passion for fantasy play. We will be working through February midterm at Banbury College, so if you are interested in attending our sessions afternoon, please email [email protected]”.

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