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The Power of Speech

Written by Steve Hennessy
Directed by Cheryl Douglas

26 Feb 2001 to 09 Mar 2001
Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol

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An old man is admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He will not speak and no one knows anything about him. Tension mounts when another patient claims to be in telepathic contact with him, but is keeping secrets of her own. Their consultant is determined that both patients will speak . .

"In the period January to March 1999 2,800 patients in psychiatric hospitals in England received a total of 16,500 administrations of Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT)"
Department of Health Statistics

Listen! In the silence, God speaks! You have had enough of words . . it is now time to live God's words
Meher Baba

"There is no doubt that masts, (the God - intoxicated) often exhibit an incapacity to deal with the ordinary situations of life; and they are, in this respect, comparable to those who are deranged in mind. But the departure of masts from normal behaviour and responses . . is due to suspension of interest in the ordinary pursuits of life, and to an absorption in the spiritual realities encountered on the path towards Truth - realisation."
The Wayfarers - William Donkin and Meher Baba

The complete text of this play featured in the July/August 2002 issue of 'Plays International' magazine along with photos by Ian Wilmot

A video of this production in a special souvenir case is available from Stepping Out Theatre Company priced at £10 (includes package and posting).


Ernie Bell - "Clint"
Natalie Hobday - Sarah
Ben Tinniswood - Dr. Matthew Forde
Meg Whelan-Lyons - Dr. Ann Burke


Cheryl Douglas - Director
Ann Stiddard / Martin Thomas - Design
Jan Prior - Production Assistant
Kirsty Leach - Technician
Tim Bartlett - Lighting Design
Ian Wilmot - Photography
Members of Stepping Out Theatre Company - Front of House
Hoxa Sound - CD Mastering
"Canticles of Ecstasy" by Hildegard of Bingen - Music


"It may only last an hour or so but Steve Hennessy's cleverly constructed psychiatric ward drama covers a a lot of ground, pitting recalcitrant patients against variously 'professional' doctors and questioning many of the assumptions on which psychiatry itself is founded. Thanks to convincing performances all round, it never labours the point, is riven with well-timed bittersweet gags and reaches an unexpectedly uplifting conclusion."
 Tom Philips, Venue Magazine


Stepping Out Theatre
13 Creedwell Orchard

Registered Charity (CIO) 1179310 (since July 2018), Formerly Charity 1117912 (since February 2007)

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