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Cracking Up!
A short open-ended questionnaire was used to evaluate the show with audiencesasterix. Key findings from a content analysis of responses from the 5 Surrey shows – carried out by Nottingham University Psychology Department - are summarised below:


What did they think of the show?


95% of audience members praised the show.
Specific references to the high quality of the comedy in the show and how well the show handled the topic of mental health were made by were made by over 40% of respondents.



What was the most memorable part of the show? (to assess impact)

The majority said Gareth Berliner’s personal account of his depression, suicide attempt and subsequent recovery, then the compere and comedian John Ryan.


Where had they heard about the show?
(to help evaluate marketing)

The majority of respondents heard of the show through their workplace or friends, then through adverts in pubs/bars, shops and the press.

Had anything changed for them after watching the show/was there anything they were taking away from the show?
(an impact question added later)

Results showed that: 79% respondents at 4 London shows reported post show changes, the most common of which were:

  • increased awareness/knowledge of mental health issues
  • more positive perceptions of/attitudes towards mental health
  • more empathy, optimism/hope
  • recognising the importance of talking about mental health and intentions to talk to others about issues raised in the show
  • validating personal experiences of mental health
  • plans to use humour in their mental health work


We hope to look at longer-term impacts of the show on knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, by conducting a follow-up evaluation with audiences of future shows, (based on input from the Institute of Psychiatry).

asterix(given that audiences paid for tickets and evaluations are not commonly used in commercial theatres, it was not felt appropriate by the venues to use longer questionnaires)

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Bringing the Outside In

This project adapted Cracking Up! to create and film a show that addressed mental health and diversity issues in prisons.  Evaluation by the Institute of Psychiatry found that the show increased inmates:

  • knowledge (eg that recovery was possible and that psychotherapy was an effective treatment)
  • openness to talk about mental health issues
  • intention to use physical exercise as a coping strategy


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