Positive Stories for Negative Times

Positive Stories for Negative Times is our flagship groundbreaking participatory programme that commissions some of the UK’s most exciting theatre artists to create work for young people in Scotland and around the world.

This international participatory project by Wonder Fools in association with the Traverse Theatre has engaged over 9,000 young people in 18 different countries and commissioned 16 new plays by Tim Crouch, Robert Softely Gayle, Leyla Josephine, Bryony Kimmings, Hannah Lavery, Sabrina Mahfouz, Douglas Maxwell, The PappyShow with Lewis Hetherington, Sara Shaarawi, Stef Smith, Debris Stevenson, Chris Thorpe, Bea Webster, Wonder Fools and Traverse Young Writer Ellen Bannerman.

Season 3 of the project culminated in summer 2023 with four festivals at the Traverse Theatre, Ayr Gaiety, Eden Court and Perth Theatre in association with Youth Theatre Arts Scotland.

Positive Stories for Negative Times is back for a fourth season and is set to be bigger than ever. This season is all about opening up exciting cultural opportunities, boosting the self-confidence of participants and changing the way we think about theatre for young people. 

We have co-commissioned some of the most exciting voices in theatre to create new work for those between the ages of 6 and 25. Artists this season include Ella Hickson, Adura Onashile, Travis Alabanza, James Ley, Mammalian Diving Reflex, and Young Writer Hannah Low. The plays are written specifically for the times we are living in and will be available to participating groups from September 2024 to September 2025.

To find out more about the project and how you can participate, visit the Positive Stories for Negative Times website.


Major Youth Festivals


Young people engaged so far


Different countries


New plays for young people commissioned

“I was truly inspired. I found it so practical, and yet so revolutionary! The idea of actually going out and creating a story through real action in the world makes so much sense to me. I loved it.”

Sarah, Leeds Playhouse on Bryony Kimmings workshop


Watch the submissions for seasons via our YouTube playlists.


All three season’s of Positive Stories for Negative Times are available in our anthology volumes published by Methuen Bloomsbury. All 16 commissioned plays accompanied by a handbook from Wonder Fools theatre company with guidance for staging the plays either online or live in the space.

“I would do it all over again, any time, a million times over, I would do it every day if I could!” – PSFNT Festival participant

“I feel really really strong and I feel confident and happy now.” Teegan, St Roch’s Secondary School Deaf Unit (Season One)

“When this came along we were all grabbing as something new to focus on. It was great for the morale of the group and to find new ways to work together even though we were spread around the UK.” Noah, Aberdeen Performing Arts (Season One)

“Many of the young people in my class grew in confidence, learned commitment and overcame their fears and anxieties.” – Deborah, Micklefield School, Cape Town (Season Two)

“Now I’m more confident than before the project.” Guilia, Teatro della Brigata, Italy (Season Two)

“It’s taking youth theatre seriously. This is leading Scottish playwrights and a young and innovative theatre company saying that youth theatre matters.” – Jeremy Wyatt, Ayr Gaiety Theatre

“Using the plays as a vehicle to have conversations about emotions, young people, stress and social media, mental health etc. had a very strong effect on the feeling in the room – they bonded and discussed quickly and had very open conversations.” – Sarah Crabb, Teacher, Grove Academy, Dundee

“I am just so continuously impressed by the heart and values at the core of Wonder Fools, everyone who is a part of WF or works with you has been so lovely, every production and project seems to hang on questions of story and accessibility, and I can’t think of a single other company whose name is so synonymous with fun and hope. I am so proud to have worked on this show and I am so excited to see what’s to come. No one else is doing theatre like you guys and the impact you have in people’s lives is huge. Just, thank you.” – Sophie Jacome, Youth Board Member.

Jack Nurse & Robbie Gordon

Executive Producer
Steph Connell

Marketing Manager
Serden Salih

Participation Associates
Lisa Williamson, Gemma Nicol and Emma Ruse

Production Manager
Paul Rodger

Ruari Barber Fleming

Tim Crouch, Robert Softely Gayle, Leyla Josephine, Bryony Kimmings, Hannah Lavery, Sabrina Mahfouz, Douglas Maxwell, The PappyShow with Lewis Hetherington, Sara Sharaawi, Stef Smith, Debris Stevenson, Chris Thorpe, Bea Webster, Robbie Gordon, Jack Nurse, and Ellen Bannerman

Youth Board
Arran Greechan, Agustìn Musondo, Ava Hickey, Catriona Hill, Charlie McAdam, Danny Taggart, Eve Dixon Batchelor, Gregor McMillan, Leo Shak, Lucy Wilson, Molly Bryson, Mollie Milne, Morna Ross, Sophie Jacome, Vicky McRae

Season One: Supported by SCVO Wellbeing Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Foundation Scotland Response Fund, The Brunton, the Corra Foundation, Renfrewshire Leisure and Future Paisley.

Season Two: Supported by Creative Scotland, Chance to Succeed, Foundation Scotland Response Recovery & Resilience Fund, William Syson Foundation, The Brunton, Gannochy Trust, Christina Mary Hendrie Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust and the Inchyre Trust.

Season Three: Presented by Wonder Fools in association with Traverse Theatre, Ayr Gaiety, Eden Court, Perth Theatre and Youth Theatre Arts Scotland with plays co-commissioned by Wonder Fools and the Traverse Theatre. 

Supported by Creative Scotland, the Gannochy Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, William Syson Foundation, Trades House of Glasgow Commonweal Fund and Gordon Fraser Foundation.