Aoife Kennan brings Scratches to Arcola Theatre this November

Aoife Kennan brings acclaimed show Scratches to London’s Arcola Theatre this November.

The life-affirming celebration of friendship runs from Tuesday, 7 November – Saturday, 11 November 2023 .

The OFFIE and VAULT Festival Award nominated new play aims to spark conversations around self-harm and mental illness through cabaret, humour and heaps of confetti!

Meet GIRL. For too long, she’s been hiding her scratches with unfashionably long socks, clever white lies and period pads. But now she and her fabulous BEST FRIEND are here to set the record straight.

Based on the writer’s own experiences, this confessional and self-deprecating comedy seeks to address self-harm, which remains a taboo subject despite the positive shift in how society talks about mental health. Rather than aiming to shock, this production seeks to encourage empathy and understanding, and address the ‘dark bits’ of it all with honesty and humour.

Writer Aoife Kennan stars as GIRL (Blue Jean, BFI; Vera, ITV; Sky Comedy Rep Winner 2023), whilst her BEST FRIEND is played by Zak Ghazi-Torbati (Hot Gay Time Machine, Soho Theatre/Trafalgar Studios; Doctors, BBC; The Hypochondriac, Sheffield Crucible).

The creative team have consulted Samaritan Guidelines to develop the script, and an intimacy coordinator to develop a safe space within the rehearsal room. Scratches has been continually updated to reflect the times, and is universal in the truth of its message about overcoming adversity, especially pertinent in an uncertain post-COVID global climate.

Writer Aoife Kennan said: “‘A funny show about self-harm’ isn’t exactly an easy sell! Writing it was a very cathartic experience, and I tried to write the show that I would have wanted to see when I was really struggling. I always think that humour is the perfect way to come at a difficult conversation – being earnest all of the time can be exhausting.

“My own experiences with self-harm and struggles with my mental health went on for years, and at the time I often felt incredibly isolated. In my opinion, talking is everything. And that’s what this play aims to do: talk about it.”

For more information and tickets, visit

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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