Show and Tell Theatre Company

Can This Be England?

Can This Be England - poster. Link to audio version

The current government has made a virtue out of describing benefit claimants as work-shy scroungers, and has been widely accused of a systematic dismantling of the welfare state.

Show and Tell Theatre Company was formed out of a sense of injustice at this situation. Members of the company have all, in different ways, as a friend, advocate and employee, witnessed at first hand the devastating effects of government action.

The present production, Can This Be England? shows the obstacles which have to be negotiated by vulnerable people in order to gain financial assistance, and the suffering which is being inflicted. It also reveals the stress caused to those called upon to implement complex regulations.

Latest News

March 2017: Angela Neville, together with Ken Loach & Rebecca O'Brien, will be taking part in a question & answer session following a special screening of I, Daniel Blake at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green on Wednesday 22nd March.

November 2016: A radio adaptation has been completed by Essex Audio Theatre allowing even greater access to the characters and their stories.

Since the first performance in November 2014, the Show and Tell Theatre Company has performed the piece three times; 19th January in Saffron Walden, 11th October in Cambridge and 29th November in Stansted, Essex.

However, the script and the ideas it promotes, has taken on an independent life of its own.

In February 2015 an article by Mary O'Hara about Angela Neville’s involvement in the script appeared in The Guardian. This generated an astonishing response, including requests for copies of the script from over sixty theatres, campaign groups, universities, activists and charities.

These include:

  • The TUC
  • Media tutors at the universities of Glasgow, Falmouth and Brighton
  • Focus E15 Housing Campaign
  • Transfer Theatre Company (Northern Ireland)
  • Brighton Benefits Campaign
  • The Care Society (Aberystwyth)
  • DARTS Arts Charity (Doncaster)
  • Inside Intelligence Theatre Company (Hove)
  • Dramatic action (Bolton)
  • Church Action on Poverty... Greenbelt Festival 2015
  • LBC
  • Al Jazeera UK

In July, The Minerva Theatre Company performed the play in Norwich, and following a request to tweak the title to reflect its location, Can This Be Scotland? has been used for youth work by Ignite Theatre.

Can This Be England? seems to have affected people by reflecting their own experiences, or by making them aware of issues misinterpreted by the media. In either case it has provided the vocabulary for debate.

Everyone at Show and Tell Theatre would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who have contacted us to share their own stories, for providing both their time and resources and lastly, but most of all, for the generous encouragement and support.


The Production

The Company

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