Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Play's The Thing...

We can't quite believe it but we actually have three plays to distribute to the world. And thanks to the magic of Scribd you should be able to download them for yourself. We doubt whether we'll be catching the conscience of any of the current kings and queens of welfare, but we do hope you will be able to use one or more versions of the play in your local communities to raise awareness.

Atos Stories - A Drama With Music   (This version references a couple of cartoons from the 1940's. The Beveridge one is here & the Zec one here)
The Atos Monologues
Atos Street Theatre

We want to try and log people's interest so PLEASE get in touch with us at, if you are up for this. At the moment we have no money but we are looking at ways we can get some to share around. We'll keep you posted.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who contributed their often painful stories which have helped create these plays. We are sorry you have had to go through it, but grateful that you have enabled us to use the stories to help change the future:

David, Aletheia, Mary, Tim, Kate, Yvonne, Adam, Nelson, Elizabeth, Sam,Vincent, Pussycat, John, Adrian, Martin & all the fabulous people who took part in our Facebook and Twitter games.

We would also like to thank the following for their help:

Amelia Gentleman - The Guardian
Patrick Collins
James Ivens, Flood Theatre
John McArdle Black Triangle
Jon Peace News
Kaliya Franklin  Benefit Scrounging Scum
Sue Marsh Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
Nelson  DWP Examinations

And a huge thanks to Eve Ensler for The Vagina Monologues and Margaret Atwood for dramatising The Flood which inspired this work.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Dear Minister...

The results of another Facebook/Twitter game

We asked : Dear Minister the impact of YOUR welfare reforms on MY life...

And you said...

Will be 20% cut in DLA. Barstewards
Will not affect you in your ivory tower. Lidl beans for me on out of date bread
Is crushing me under fear, stress and hopelessness.
Is making life unpredictable, fearful with a dread of brown envelopes through the door. Humiliated and scared for the future
Has made being disabled a crime. 
Is making my daily struggle even harder, leading to me becoming even more ill than when I fell onto benefits with the thought of being up and running again a distant dream. 
Is bollox
Is causing me pain and misery                             
Is making me want to take stemetil just to get through the day with out throwing up when I see how seriously ill people are being maltreated in this society purely for profit, otherwise I consider myself to be in good health.

I’m really not keen on using dear for that nasty Tory bastard

Thanks again to all who took part (and sorry). Do feel free to add more below, they'll go in the monologues

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Work Hurts


One of the key questions asked by our Atos Stories play is - what is wrong with getting disabled people out to work? After all, isn't that what disabled people want? Minister after minister will often preach these points, the reforms of the 2012 Welfare Act are all about enabling, empowering,preventing people from languishing on sickness benefits.

The answer is, of course it is, except that...

1. Despite the Disability Discrimination Act many employers still will choose a non disabled person above a disabled every time This is worse in times of high unemployment.

2. The nature of many disabilities (Crohn's Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, mental health) mean people have periods of good health, and periods of poor health. For such individuals to be able to hold down a job, they need sympathetic employers. Employers who enable part time working, flexible work arrangements. Employers who ensure that the employee is not overloaded with work so they spiral into ill-health, and who are supportive when employees need time off due to a flare up of their condition. How many employers do you know like that?

3. Many work places aren't physically adapted to the needs of individuals with disabilities, chairs, lighting, ventilation can make a sick person sicker.

4. Some people who are just too sick to work.  According to the DWP's own figures 32 people a week died between January and August 2011 after Atos found them fit enough to be in the work related activity group. In other words, they weren't languishing on a benefit deprived of the right to work. They were being provided with sufficient finances to live out their days in dignity and peace.

Without the right supports, without the right environment, without the right attitudes, work ALWAYS hurts.

It is time the wealthy millionaire non-disabled ministers in the Cabinet woke up to the fact. Otherwise people will continue to be put through an endless cycle of continual reassessment, and oh yes, they'll keep on dying too..