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Regional Tour 2007


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Open Clasp’s Mind The Gap project addressed women’s attitudes to mental well-being, mental ill-health and the issues that surround it. Open Clasp spent 18 months running courses of intensive drama workshops with 127 women from 10 community groups. Each group spent time building a character, and ended by looking at where they would like their character to be in 5 years time, and what obstacles lay in her path that could prevent her from living a positive and healthy life. The characters, life stories and issues developed in these workshops went on to become the script for Tonic.

“Shows your experiences, negative or otherwise, can bring you to a better place.” Participant

The following groups directly informed the creation of Tonic:

  • Galafields Youth Centre
  • West Denton Girl's Group
  • Throckley Rec
  • Lemington Girl's Group
  • Women 4 Women
  • West End Women & Girl's Centre Young Mother's Group and Granny's Group
  • The Hetton Centre
  • Bridge Chester-le-Street.

Tonic toured the North East in February and March 2007 and was a finalist for Performance of the Year in the Journal Culture Awards 2007.


Set during the World Cup Tonic tells the story of four women trying, unsuccessfully, to get away from the football! Zoe heads off to a caravan estate for a break with her friend Lorraine and colleagues Suzy and Nina. But her little sister, Josie, turns up, having left her violent partner, and bringing a suitcase full of money and chaos in her wake.

Like all Open Clasp productions Tonic is a comedy vehicle for serious issues. Zoe and Josie are survivors of childhood domestic and sexual abuse, Suzy suffers from OCD, Nina is lurching unprepared through the menopause, and Lorraine is banned from her own home whenever her girlfriend's children have their friends around. This is the backdrop to the whole story, and we see how the characters deal with these issues as well as everything else life throws at them.


Supported By:

NCC logo

northern rock foundation logo

arts council logo

nationwide foundation logo

Lloyds TSB Foundations logo

trusthouse logo

northumbria uni logohefce logo

"Excellent performance - hard hitting way to raise awareness - no jargon approach, very sensitively done - Thank you!" Audience member

"A real Tonic that beats the World Cup any day... powerful scenes involving truth, confession and honesty ... balance nicely with Catrina's humorous exploration of the lives of five ordinary North-East women." The Journal 29 March 2007

To create the characters Open Clasp spent 18 months running the Mind the Gap Project, courses of intensive drama workshops with 127 women from 10 community groups.

Tonic toured the North East region for 8 weeks in 2007 and reached 2333 Audience members and 451 drama workshop participants through 37 performances and 20 workshops.