Breathing Space by Clifford Oliver

directed by Carole Pluckrose


A 17-year old boy, displaced and unhappy at home, jobless and uncommunicative, dreams of flying. A 15-year old girl, tough-talking but vulnerable and on the run. An elderly man who imposes order on chaos by feeding wild cats that the council wants to destroy.

The three meet by chance in an abandoned factory; a place that provides them all with a breathing space. Will the appearance of a common foe unite them and enable the teenagers to feel less isolated and misunderstood?

Background to this video

Commissioned by Samaritans to explore how young people deal with emotional distress, Arc Theatre's film Breathing Space is designed as a KS3 and 4 PSHE and Citizenship resource and can be purchased from Carel Press (see publications). Breathing Space is also available to schools as a live Forum theatre workshop programme looking at feelings of isolation, depression and despair in young people today and examining the causes and effects experienced.


"I was really excited by what I saw at one of Arc's performances and could see the possibility of using the interactive techniques to get some of our messages across. Instead of telling people what they should feel or think, the performance presented the audience with a scenario and then engaged with them. It encouraged a response and then moved on again using the audience's suggestions. It was a great way of getting young people to discuss potentially painful situations while in a safe environment."

Jackie Wilkinson - Director of Caller Services, Samaritans

More video and audio

My England Lottie Learns to Listen (audio) Breathing Space Stereo Interactive This Time Playing for Time