The Talk

A headphone verbatim rollercoaster. Let’s talk about sex education.

What do you wish you’d been taught (or, not) about sex and relationships? Over the last year, playwright Neela Doležalová asked friends and strangers these questions, and they shared their memories and stories. From students to teachers, and doctors to former education secretaries, Neela has listened to people from their teens to their nineties and edited nearly 100 voices into a 60-minute show.

Directed by Kristine Landon-Smith, these very personal interviews form the content for a play that will make you laugh, cry, wince and possibly snort. The interviews have been edited to capture the essence of each voice and the actors perform whilst listening to the recorded material through headphones. This technique allows every breath, every utterance, every idiosyncratic detail of the speaker to be captured by the performer. Once you’ve heard ‘The Talk’, you won’t forget it.

Headphone verbatim theatre is an intimate storytelling method, allowing the audience to enter into other people’s worlds. So, sit back and listen as strangers, politicians, campaigners and school children tell you about their experiences of sex education. From Ed Balls and Nicky Morgan, to inquisitive 11-year-olds and angry 15-year-olds.

Yes, this is political theatre, because sex is political.

What audiences are saying about ‘The Talk’:
‘Totally absorbing.’
‘Utterly brilliant… superb cast.’
‘Fucking great project.’
‘Kind of scary.’
‘A tour de force through 50 years of confusion, ignorance and occasional enlightenment.’

Please note: This show is mostly comprised of people’s personal stories relating to sex and relationship education. Due to the nature of the topic, the show contains content about sexual assault and/or violence.

Images © Keara Stewart / Photography by Chouette Films

1hr 00m
The Vaults
15 — 16 Mar 21:30
Book Now


About the company

The Talk

Writer: Neela Doležalová
Neela is a playwright and maths teacher with a love of all things awkward. Her writing credits include Playing Fields (Soho Theatre), Lock the Gates (National Youth Theatre), and audio dramas for Roundhouse Radio and Now Press Play. Through her teaching experience Neela became interested in how schools teach about sex and relationships.

Reviews from Neela’s previous shows:
“Dolezalova demonstrates a sharp ear for the comic bizarreness of everyday speech… she can make tragic and comic feeling grate against each other” (Time Out).
“Dolezalova has a great ear for dialogue and great confidence in not spelling everything out…” (The Times).

Director: Kristine Landon-Smith
As co-founder of Tamasha Theatre Kristine’s shows include East is East, The Trouble with Asian Men, Sweet Cider, Wuthering Heights, The House of Bilquis Bibi and The Arrival. Kristine’s freelance credits include work with the Royal Court Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Nitro, Yellow Earth Theatre & The Royal Danish Theatre.

Artistic Team
Writer & Producer
Neela Doležalová
Kristine Landon-Smith
Ken Birk, Divian Ladwa, Nyla Levy, Stephen Myott-Meadows, Josephine Starte & Jennifer Tan

Press & Reviews

Times Educational Supplement

Teacher writes sex education play featuring porn, cucumbers – and former ministers.

Jenny Barksfield, Deputy CEO of the PSHE Association
"Not only does it raise vitally important issues... it is an incredibly powerful piece of theatre in its own right – funny, sad, moving and thought-provoking in equal measure."

Jane Lees, Chair of the Sex Ed Forum
"The Talk gives voice, literally, to those not often heard in the current debates about sex and relationships education."

Read the full article