Press release

'Brainstorm': exploring the teenage brain in theatre

'Brainstorm' is a provocative new play from Islington Community Theatre that explores the workings of the teenage brain. It will be performed at Park Theatre from 8 to 11 January 2015.

Supported by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, 'Brainstorm' is a play about some of the most extraordinary changes that ever happen to people, made by those who are going through them right now. It has been developed in collaboration with Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, by Islington Community Theatre Artistic Director Ned Glasier, Associate Artist Emily Lim and the ten 13-to-17-year-olds who perform the play.

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore said: "Risk-taking, worrying about friendships, being self-conscious; it was all blamed on hormones, young people just needed to 'pull themselves together'. We now think of these teenage-typical behaviours as representative of important, adaptive developmental changes. The teenage brain undergoes substantial development, which continues well into our 20s, and which is associated with behaviours such as increased risk taking and peer influence."

Blakemore and a team of neuroscientists have worked alongside the teenage performers in a series of workshops, using theatre as a platform to explore adolescent brain development. The participants' interpretation of the research, in light of their own experiences, has formed the basis for the play and simultaneously provided new perspectives on the scientific questions.

Ned Glasier, Director of 'Brainstorm', added: "Research reveals that during adolescence the brain undergoes an intense workout as it shifts, reacts and grows. By working with a group of ten young people over many months we have developed a very personal piece of work which draws upon their experiences; every word has been written by the company themselves. In creating the piece in this manner it means we can communicate the science in a very direct, exciting way, we hope that we’re finding new ways to communicate complex scientific knowledge."

Brainstorm performances
Park Theatre, 8-11 January 2015
Thursday to Saturday, 19.30
Matinees on Saturday and Sunday, 15.00

About Islington Community Theatre

Islington Community Theatre is one of the UK’s leading theatre companies making original theatre with young people. The company trains and supports a permanent ensemble of theatre-makers aged 11-19, all of whom are referred by teachers, youth workers or social workers as someone who will benefit from long-term involvement in the programme.

About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

Our investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.