About

GW Theatre Company and writer Mike Harris, have been producing powerful, thought provoking and memorable issue-based dramas for 30 years – tackling the most pressing, complex and sensitive social issues to provoke thinking, debate and learning with children and young people. The company is acclaimed for its unique ability to produce entertaining, challenging and intensely humane theatre productions which have the proven capacity to effect personal and social change. Educational resources are built around all performance work and we always works in close collaboration and partnership with children, young people, families, schools, colleges, local authorities, appropriate professionals and major social agencies.

Mr Shapeshifter School PlayMr Shapeshifter School Play

Over the last 6 years GW Theatre has worked closely with, and been funded by a number of local authorities to develop two theatre productions designed to educate, empower and protect primary and secondary age children against child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The first was ‘Somebody’s Sister, Somebody’s Daughter’, a powerful drama for young people aged 14 up about sexual exploitation, with a particular emphasis on sexual grooming, sexting and social media pressures. Without preaching or being sexually graphic in any way it dramatises the dangers and complex issues involved in this most sensitive of subjects. The play has toured nationally to thousands of people nationally since 2013 and there is now a 15 minute film adaptation of the play.

“It is important that today’s teenagers understand the risk of sexual exploitation and know where to seek help. The GW Theatre Company has perfected the art of engaging teenagers in a thoughtful and entertaining way through drama.”
Head of StrategyNSPCC

The second was ‘Mr Shapeshifter’, an exciting modern ‘fairy tale’ for 9-11 year olds about the way some adults abuse the trust of children and how young people can work together and with trusted adults to help protect themselves. This play has been touring to young people all over the country since 2015. Over the last two years it has been performed extensively in West Yorkshire primary schools as part of a county wide CSE prevention project funded by the Office of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. In 2018 the experiences of some of  the 9-11 years who saw the play were the subject of an independent academic evaluation.

“The Mr Shapeshifter play serves to empower children in their capacity to understand when the behaviour of a person is wrong. It recognizes the sometimes frailty of adults but also the power they have to stop other adults hurting children”
Dr Donna PeachEducation Through Theatre Report

Link: Click here to read the full report.

This evaluation proved beyond doubt that the play is a very powerful learning and safe-guarding tool when delivered in schools with its supporting resources and in collaboration with teachers, children, local authorities, police and appropriate safeguarding professionals. Moreover, it evidenced that creative learning in itself can offer an effective lead in helping to empower and safeguard young children.

“Arguably, schools are aided by the inclusion of specialist knowledge provided by organisations such as the GW Theatre Company who produce research-based drama to address pertinent issues identified by the CEE [Children’s Commissioner for England] Vulnerability report [2018]”
Dr Donna PeachEducation Through Theatre Report

More information on GW Theatre can be found at www.gwtheatre.co.uk