What really goes on behind the locked doors of a psychiatric hospital?
After a suicide attempt Clare Summerskill spent two months in such a place…

Throughout this brand new play we hear the stories of six real-life people who met as patients on an acute secure psychiatric ward in a London hospital, the writer of this piece being one of them. The entire script is taken from interviews conducted by the writer with each of these patients and combined with extracts from the writer’s own diary about her time on the ward. The result is a unique and powerful piece of verbatim theatre, which explores the experiences of Mental Health Service Users behind locked doors.

The stories that are told in this piece represent the “voices” of the patients that were never heard by the consultants or the nurses on the ward. This ground-breaking piece of theatre reveals the views and personal histories of a group of people who are often hidden and excluded from mainstream society and allows their voices to finally be heard.

HEARING VOICES toured to theatres in England for five weeks in the Spring of  2010. The tour was funded by THE ARTS COUNCIL. Clare Summerskill appeared in the show alongside members of her theatre company, ARTEMIS. The play was directed by Lorae Parry. The Set and Costume Designer was Sophia Lovell Smith.

The play “HEARING VOICES” by Clare Summerskill has been published by Tollington Press (2010). The cost is £8.99 plus postage. To order your copy of the play please visit Clare’s Online Store.


Three extracts of the film version of HEARING VOICES have been posted on YouTube. Visit:

If you want to book Clare to talk about the writing and research of Hearing Voices and about wider issues of mental health and the efficacy of psychiatry, contact admin@claresummerskill.co.uk for availability and costs. For further details about the talks and screenings please visit the DVD page on this site.

Visit our Online Store to order your own DVD of the film version of Hearing Voices

Photos from the Production