Working on Cookies, the cyberbullying play

Shiri shares her experience of being part of 'Cookies', the new play on cyberbullying presented at Theatre Royal Haymarket. She talks about working on a big theatre production and the good and dark sides of internet.

The Mix Staff
Shiri during Cookies rehearsal

I first got involved with Masterclass when my acting teacher at Leyton Sixth Form told me our college had been selected to take part in workshops for a play about cyberbullying, and some of us would be able to perform in the final production at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

My first reaction was excitement, because I find the development of a play so interesting, and I thought it was an innovative idea to use the online experiences of teenagers. It also meant the voices of our generation would be heard in a play where we could see our own lives reflected. Too often writers try to convey the current climate for young people, only to miss the mark and make us feel more excluded.

Working on Cookies has been exhilarating. I found out so many interesting things about the different ways my generation use the internet and the ways we live through it. It was also incredible to meet Emily, the playwright, to read the script and see how she developed our stories into one amazing piece.

So many big experiences in my life come from the internet. I know quite a number of my closest friends through social media. If someone had told me 10 years ago that my best friend would be someone I only know because of social media, I’d have thought they were crazy. But as much as I owe to the internet, it also has a bad side. I have cried so many times because of things said on Twitter. The scariest memory I have is when someone started sending rude messages to my friend, and, as you do, I got involved. I remember telling them just to “chill out,” and the next thing I knew they had tracked down all my other social networks and found my school and address and were threatening to send things to my school and call the police on me – though for doing what I don’t know. That one experience scared me away from using social media for months.

I am lucky as I always have my friends around to remind me to take a deep breath and offer reassurance. However, it can be difficult to escape the clutches of the internet once you start to feel trapped.

What is amazing about Cookies is that it shows both the positives and negatives of being online. It’s not the typical fearmongering you hear on the news about the internet, because it comes from teenagers who have grown up living half their lives on these social networks. In staging social media, this show is truly leading the way; the internet is a prominent presence in our lives and yet so difficult to accurately represent in theatre, film or television.

Working on Cookies has been the experience of a lifetime, and to perform at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on something so close to my heart hardly computes.

This show is going to be something so new and different, and you absolutely cannot miss it.

Words by Shiri Fileman

About Cookies 

A new play by Emily Jenkins
Directed by Olivier Award nominee Anna Ledwich

In a world of gaming, vlogging and instant messaging, the online and offline worlds of four teenagers collide when they’re exposed to a darker side of the internet… 

Inspired by the true online experiences of 120 students, Cookies takes us on an extraordinary digital journey which questions the consequences of cyber bullying.

Commissioned by Masterclass and children’s charity Kidscape, all proceeds from the production will go to charity.

29.10.17 | Theatre Royal Haymarket
Tickets from just £7.50


Published on 05-Oct-2017