Boys Don’t (2017 – 2018)

White Horse Road
20 Mar 2017 - 30 Sep 2018
Age range: 8-12
Boys Don't promotional image Boys Don't promotional image
  • Half Moon Presents A Papertale Production
  • by Rosemary Harris
  • by Justin Coe, Hadiru Mahdi, Tanaka Mhishi and Steve Tasane

What’s a boy to do? From the playground to the classroom, from home to the uncharted waters of online, boys learn that displaying their feelings is a no-no. But what happens to emotion that can’t be let out?

Boys Don’t explored through spoken word what happened when boys show their feelings, and was written from real-life experiences of the male cast. Through a series of funny, familiar and sometimes heart-breaking stories of boys in the emotional spotlight, the show delivered insights into male experiences of growing up, and offered the possibility of more open communication for us all.

In partnership with Half Moon Theatre, and Apples and Snakes (South East), Boys Don’t featured some of the UK’s leading poets and performers in repertory, including Justin Coe, Hadiru Mahdi, Tanaka Mhishi and Steve Tasane. It was the latest work from Papertale, following on from the Suitcase Trilogy of spoken word performances about migration for young audiences, directed by Rosemary Harris.

Boys Don’t was nominated for an Offie (Off West End Award) for Best Production for Young People Aged 8+.

….better than any other thing I have ever watched. It’s good because boys don’t talk about their emotions. They are worried that people take the mickey… (Yr 7, St Leonards Academy, Hastings)

….I liked the rhyming words and the stories and even when the boy was crying everyone still liked him the way he was. It shows how boys feel… (Yr 5, Lansbury Lawrence Primary, London)

A Papertale production which toured nationally as part of Half Moon Presents.

You can access the script of this play via the British Library’s MPS Modern Playscripts Collection. This play is also listed on the National Theatre’s Black Plays Archive.

Production photos

Cast List

Creative Team

Brighton Festival Live Streaming

The live stream of Boys Don’t took place on Sunday 21 May 218 at The Spire, as part of the Brighton Festival – filmed and Edited in partnership with Greater Brighton Metropolitan College.



Video extracts

R&D phase production gallery


Reviews, press and audience feedback

Educational Resources

Press cuttings

Interview below with Rosemary Harris


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