Theatre ADAD and ‘Flat Broke’

Theatre ADAD uses interactive drama to engage young people at risk or excluded from mainstream education to promote personal and social responsibility and citizenship. Their approach provides an excellent example of how to develop young people’s legal capability.

Theatre ADAD has worked with a number of partners in the past to produce dramas that tackle difficult issues such as drugs, relationships, gang and peer pressure and the consequences of offending.

In 2010, Plenet commissioned Theatre ADAD to produce a new programme to equip young people to deal with housing issues and avoid homelessness. A new performance was created, ‘Flat Broke’ which was launched by Jonathan Djanogly, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Justice on 4th November 2010.

Dynamic and engaging programmes such as ‘Flat Broke’ can make a huge contribution by providing young people with the building blocks to be able to understand and cope with issues relating to the law and life-events – building blocks which will provide some of the foundations for success in later life. Jonathan Djanogly, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Justice

‘Flat Broke’

‘Flat Broke’ is a two hour, highly interactive and dynamic learning experience broadly targeted at young people between 14 and 24 years old.

The programme combines elements of live theatre with dynamic and interactive discussions and role-play, to engage participants in producing a highly memorable and effective learning experience. It tries to take away some of the feelings of helplessness, frustration and anger that many young people might feel when faced with a law-related situation. See a clip from ‘Flat Broke’



or watch the full version (8 minutes)



The short performance is designed to provoke and engage participants using a scenario where likeable and identifiable characters make decisions and do things that ultimately lead to a course of events that ‘go wrong’.This is followed by an extensive interactive de-briefing session. This consists of facilitated discussion and ‘hot seat’ and role play forums to encourage participants to analyse, discuss and reflect on what they have just seen.  By sharing information, ideas and opinions, participants are encouraged to explore the issues at hand, seek to problem solve and to discover for themselves solutions to the issues and dilemmas just presented to them.

‘Flat Broke’ aims to:

  • reduce the prevalence of housing-related problems and the risks of homelessness for young people, by improving awareness of housing rights and obligations
  • promote positive and effective financial management skills by engendering a greater awareness of the pitfalls of poor budgeting, over-spending and misuse of credit and debit
  • empower young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to enable them to function and thrive within a society that is routinely influenced, defined and protected by legal rules
  • promote a realistic and practical understanding of how the law (legal issues) routinely impacts on everyday life, and to enable young people to effectively manage and prevent disputes by accessing accurate, credible and reliable sources of help and advice
  • promote effective communication and mediation skills and a greater emotional confidence and literacy, enabling young people to
  • effectively address and minimise situations of dispute and conflict
  • promote critical thinking about the role of the justice system and the extent to which it reflects young people’s concerns.

A fantastic, exciting hands on way to learn about the law.

Pamela Robotham senior solicitor and pro bono co-ordinator, Legal Advice Centre, College of Law.

The programme was jointly developed by Theatre ADAD and Plenet with support from the Ministry of Justice and Addleshaw Goddard, a city law firm with a long history of working with local communities.

If you would like to commission ‘Flat Broke’, use it at conferences, include in any programmes you are running or would like to help to further develop the programme, please contact Lisa Wintersteiger here.

Read about: Theatre ADAD

Theatre ADAD works extensively within mainstream education (primary and secondary schools) as well as those who are potentially more vulnerable and ‘at risk’, within special needs schools, pupil referral units and young offenders institutes and other specialist groups in and out of formal education.

Published: 23 January 2011

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