Invictus (mental health)

Stories of Resilience, Overcoming Adversity & Mental Health

Narrative Alchemy’s ‘Invictus’ was first developed just before lockdown started and aimed, as an early intervention as part of a whole system approach, to use the power of simple storytelling techniques to create a safe, contained environment with aesthetic distance to:-

  • Raise awareness of the differing forms of childhood adversity
  • Inspire hope and resilience amongst young people that may be experiencing adversity in their lives
  • Sign-post where young people can go to for help and advice.

Soon after ‘Invictus’ piloted in early 2020 the world as we know it changed. For all of us Covid-19 brought concerns around danger, safety and the need to protect ourselves, our families, our loved ones and our friends. For some young people this period of enforced lockdown and social isolation had a massive impact by adding to pre-existing traumas and adversities. For others the global pandemic brought new experiences of change, grief, loss, trauma, toxic stress, anxiety and adversity.

For everyone there was a social disconnect. A requirement for physical distancing, a fracturing of the unwritten rules and conventions by which we run our lives and an atmosphere of fear and anxiety that has led to potentially damaging social and emotional isolation. We realised that the messages that were in the pilot of ‘Invictus’ are now more important and essential than ever.

Stories are how we come to understand ourselves and the world around us. Stories can provide powerful opportunities to see the bigger picture and to embrace strength, honour and courage in the face of difficulty.

Renda Dionne Madrigal Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist, Mindful Practice Inc.

As a direct response to Covid-19 we have redeveloped ‘Invictus’ as a tool to help with schools’ recovery curriculum and ongoing work around student’s mental health, well-being and safeguarding. In addition to its original aims outlined above, we have developed ‘Invictus’ as a platform to:-

  • Collectively address the traumatic period that young people have been through
  • Share, acknowledge, understand, empathise with and bear witness to young people’s different experiences
  • Give a voice to young people’s stories and to use those stories to help promote healing, resilience, fortitude and the ability to cope with change by recognising, naming and advocating the skills and behaviours that can help young people to overcome a whole host of adversities and critical life moments (skills and behaviours like integrity, critical thinking, self-esteem, problem solving, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, mentalisation and the ability and confidence to ask for help when it is needed.

The play has been developed in consultation with young people, youth, social and health workers as well as psychiatrists and psychologists and tells the stories of a young girl experiencing domestic abuse in her household, a young man involved in County Lines and a young man suffering from neglect. The post-show talk explores their experiences further and opens them up as a platform to explore other young people’s experiences.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was particularly impressed by the content and the delivery by the cast. It was just the right mix of message and humour and spot on the money regarding the key messages

Vice Principal, Coleraine Grammar School, Northern Ireland

Project Information

Running Time 50 minutes
Get In 1 hr
Get Out 30 mins
Cast Size 3
Performance Space 4m x 4m
Staging Ground Level – End On

We can perform the play for intimate audiences or to entire year groups at a time. All we need is a performance space roughly 4m x 4m and somewhere to plug in our sound system. The cast do not use mics so performance venues must be suitable for unamplified voices. The cast aim to arrive one hour before the show start time to set up and take about 30 minutes to pack down.

Target Audience

  • Young People (year 7+)
  • FE colleges
  • Parents, carers, teachers & professionals working with young people

Narrative Alchemy

Narrative Alchemy is one of the leading Applied Theatre & Film production companies in the UK. Our primary focus is creating positive change through the art of storytelling.

Our team collaborates with various organisations, including schools, colleges, charities, government bodies, the NHS, and private companies, to develop and deliver impactful productions. We explore topics such as safeguarding, cultural health, wellbeing, and social issues.

Our portfolio of work includes projects on child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation, domestic abuse & coercive control, radicalisation & extremism, hate crime, knife crime, sexism & sexist behaviours, emotional resilience, internet safety, and diversity. By raising awareness and initiating conversations around these issues, we hope to contribute towards a better world.

Available Sept ’23 to July ’24

Costs for academic year Sept 2023 to July 2024

  • £650+vat per show (AM or PM slots available)
  • Or you can book the whole day for £1200+vat and have up to 3 x performances in the day


To book or for further assistance, please call 0161 236 1448 to talk to our friendly team. Alternatively, fill in the enquiry form below and we’ll get back to you with availability in your area…