A Space for Sharing: the play and film

In collaboration with professional theatre company Dead Earnest, we developed this play to dramatise the findings of our research on online health forums.


I was moved by the play; it was very powerful and thought-provoking. I have already started to mention online forums to new patients.

Health Professional

Member of the audience

Background to the play

In 2016 we developed the play, ‘A Space for Sharing’ to convey through drama our key research findings from the research undertaken at Sheffield on online health forums.

The play is the result of a collaboration between the Sheffield researchers and the professional theatre company Dead Earnest, resulting in a powerful and memorable drama telling the stories of five fictional women diagnosed with breast cancer who gain support from an online health forum.

The play is based on the Breast Cancer Care online health forum, and the charity has endorsed the play as an authentic portrayal of their online health forum.

The play has so far been performed at 8 events enabling audiences of the general public and health professionals to find out about online health forums, and make informed choices about whether this support would be useful either for themselves, or for patients in their care. The play shows the following:

  • Types of support offered by forums e.g. friendship, emotional support, and information sharing
  • The benefits and potential risks
  • How the online health forum friendships support people through their individual journeys with breast cancer

This play was spot on. It should be seen by women and men, whether or not they have cancer or know somebody who has.

Audience member

Watch a recording of the play

In 2018 we filmed the play so that the play can be viewed more widely.

Before viewing this film, please read the following:

The play is a vivid portrayal of the experiences of five women living with breast cancer, please be aware that the content is of an emotional nature which some viewers may find sad or distressing.

The play includes a scene where a character talks to her friends on the forum about her feelings about dying.

Whether you are a health professional or a member of the public, we would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this film. Please complete the form below to send us your anonymous feedback.

Complete feedback form 

Hearing womens' experiences expressed in their own language, rather than an information leaflet, was very powerful.

Audience member

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.