AN Oxford-based theatre is taking an up-close look at domestic abuse in its latest play.

The play, called Happy Even After, is produced by Human Story Theatre (HST) and presents actors who go behind closed doors in an ‘intimate’ style to bear witness to the joy and eventual carnage of two couples’ relationships.

It is touring the city and county and aims to take health and social care stories into communities to encourage audiences to share their experiences with visiting experts.

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Gaye Poole, joint artistic director of HST and the play’s writer, said: “It appears society is moving in the right direction by recognising a life that too many people have to endure.

“We hope our work brings the stories behind domestic violence out into the open to help people understand it and, hopefully, stop it happening.”

In the play, Peter, a hard-working policeman and all round ‘good egg’, finds love a second time around with cautious Kate, an office worker who finds it hard to trust again.

Ash, a charming and ambitious history lecturer, and caring Naomi, a talented, aspiring dress designer, marry on the same fateful day as Peter and Kate.

The audience is brought inside their lives over several anniversaries, sharing happy and more difficult moments.

The play shows how domestic abuse comes in too many forms and is hidden from too many people.

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The latest crime summary for Oxford published by police has revealed that domestic abuse has risen by 33 per cent with 1,544 recorded crimes that can be specifically pinpointed to the city between July last year and June this year.

HST is partnering with A2 Dominion Housing and Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse for the tour, which is funded by Arts Council England, the Lottery and several other local organisations.

After the performance a 20 minute post-show Q&A with organisations who work with people who have experienced domestic abuse will be held.

An informal atmosphere is created for the Q&A, facilitated by the two actors, with local specialists able to signpost people to their local services.

Building on the story within the play, the audience is also encouraged to share their own experiences, both to ‘offload’ and also to help support fellow audience members, if appropriate.

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The play will be available to watch from October 3-13 at a number of locations such as the Old Fire Station in Oxford, Witney Library, Eynsham Village Hall, Neighbours Hall in Great Milton and Players Theatre in Thame.

Standard tickets cost £12 and can be purchased online at