The Coolidge Effect

By Robbie Gordon & Jack Nurse

“You watch porn. Right? You don’t have to tell us. That’s not what this is about.”

In 2017, pornography is all around us and the amount we watch it is growing at an exponential rate: in the UK alone, 10 million porn videos are consumed every day.

As society’s access of pornography increases, so can our unwillingness to talk about it. The Coolidge Effect saught to break this taboo.

Devised from interviews with porn advocates, addicts, mental health experts and scientists, these unique stories and viewpoints are told through four intertwining narratives: George, a Gameboy-wielding teenager; Gary, a father lost in the depths of his own addiction; Gail, a pioneering porn producer and Retrospect, an ex-porn addict who wants you to understand.

The Coolidge Effect uses an interactive blend of storytelling, poetry and science to examine how pornography affects our mental health, relationships and sexual experiences.

The original premise of The Coolidge Effect was “this performance can happen anywhere: from a town hall to a theatre space”. The production has toured to theatre studio spaces across Scotland and schools and youth groups in Dumfries and Galloway. In 2020 we created a audio play of the piece with a new score composed by VanIves. 


Live performances


Audio Version


locations across the UK

“Wonder Fools are talented theatre-makers and it’s exciting to see an emerging theatre company making such a varied piece and doing so with a noticeable confidence.”

Exeunt Magazine


The Coolidge Effect explores isolation, mental health, empathy and pornography addiction. Listen to the audio version featuring a score by Wonder Fools regular collaborators VanIves.


“Jack Nurse and Robbie Gordon debate the problems and prudishness surrounding pornography in a lively audio play adapted from the stage” ★★★★ The Guardian

“The show is clever enough not to pore over statistics or simply lambast the horror of porn-addled teens and there’s something uniquely exciting about seeing a young theatre company address a phenomenon that has arguably affected its own generation more than any other.” ★★★★ The Morning Star

“Incredibly powerful and innovative” ★★★★ Young Perspective

“Wonder Fools are talented theatre-makers and it’s exciting to see an emerging theatre company making such a varied piece and doing so with a noticeable confidence” Exeunt Magazine

“Immersive, educational and political […] Wonder Fools have created an impactful and visceral piece of work” 72% The Fountain

The show received a Special Commendation as part of ‘The Suitcase Prize’ at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich at PULSE festival 2017.

Jack Nurse
Robbie Gordon

Jack Nurse

Catherine McLauchlan

Lighting Designer
Benny Goodman

Previous Performers 
Robbie Gordon, Meg Forgan, Nima Sene, Daisy Addison

Creative Collaborators
Meg Forgan
Nima Sene

Ailie Crerar (Current) 
Hector Macpherson Brown (Originating)

Creative Scotland, Leche Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, East Lothian Partnership Fund, Unity Theatre Trust, Citizens Theatre & The Brunton


More news, behind the scenes, development and documentation of our projects.