The Bruise You Can’t See

There are so many untold stories of relationships that move from healthy into abusive. With domestic abuse being thrown into the spotlight at the moment, this is the ideal time to start telling some of those stories.

The Bruise You Can’t See explores the early warning signs of domestic abuse and coercive behaviour in relationships.

1 in 2 young women have experienced controlling behaviour in a relationship

1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will be a victim of domestic abuse during their lifetime. 

2 women a week are murdered by a partner or ex partner in the UK.

The Bruise You Can’t See is based on two true stories and has been created from our extensive work exploring domestic abuse with the Tender project, Essex Change, an extensive tour in education and research from thousands of untold stories.

The Bruise You Can’t See follows the path of many abusive relationships, analyses the early warning signs and gives hope to a society with a disease which is rapidly increasing.

“At 17 years old I found myself in an abusive relationship which changed my life forever. I spent years silent about my experience, ashamed and scared people would change how they looked at me.” explains Sarah, our Founder “And this is why domestic abuse continues. So I want to break that silence. And I believe the best way is through theatre – interactive theatre. Where the audience are central and involved in the story and how to help the characters. Let’s step up and empower young people to understand what a healthy relationships looks like.”

Adult show. Touring to theatres, community groups and public.

This untold story is from Suz. She’s got a great job and a good life with amazing friends. They’re on a night out when she bumps into Olly. He’s funny, charming and very good looking. They talk all night and that’s all it takes to start the most amazing relationship she has ever had. He’s attentive, loves everything about her and wants to spend all his time with her. She can’t stop smiling. But when Olly gets angry, she feels like she’s getting things wrong. But then he’s so lovely she can’t imagine ever being without him. She just wishes she could keep the peace a bit better and not worry about losing him.

Domestic abuse is rife in the UK and around the world. And it travels across all sectors of our society. Straight and gay relationships. Relationships between all races and colours. People with money and those with not much. Old, middle aged and young people. “No matter what your age, race or sexuality is – anyone can be affected by Domestic Abuse.” (NSPCC 2019).

With this in mind our play isn’t just Suz’s untold story. It’s also Sean’s story, who is in an abusive relationship with his girlfriend. It’s also Simon’s story who is in an abusive relationships with his boyfriend. And it’s also Sasha’s story who is in an abusive relationship with her girlfriend.

Whose story do we see? Whichever story the audience choose when they arrive at the theatre. The majority vote will decide whose story we see.

“The production struck the right balance between being thought provoking and at times shocking, without being confrontational or accusatory.” Audience member.

“I have the upmost respect for all that TIC Box Productions offer our society. Their work is a refreshing push back and questioning over toxic narrative, done in a non-judgemental way, with their full focus on empowerment. Their work is a beacon of hope.” Ms Dannie-Lu Carr.

“Really impactive, with a definite ‘Penny Drop’ moment about health relationships and what is certainly not acceptable. We all have a part to play.” Inspector Colin Cox.

“TIC Box really is more than just a theatre company, Their work is so important in bringing about acceptance and change.” Audience member.

“Challenging the ‘norm’ of a performance experience and a totally enabling company doing pioneering work.” Audience member.

Educational show. Targeted to Year 10 upwards.

The Bruise You Can’t See (education version) is a play for young people, which highlights the early warning signs of coercive behaviour, and has been created post our extensive work exploring domestic abuse in schools with the Tender project, Essex Change and enabled by funding from the Community Safety Partnership at Uttlesford Council. The play is an interactive experience for schools/colleges where the young people in our audience take charge of the characters to explore what to do if they or someone they know find themselves in an abusive or controlling relationship. The play has toured nationwide to great success.

Your students become part of the piece, actively exploring the early warning signs of unhealthy and abusive behaviour, what healthy relationships look like, the various forms of abusive behaviour and how to access help and support.

Suzie’s dating the guy everyone wants to date. He’s funny, charming and the fittest boy in the year. He’s always there for her and she increasingly spends all her time with him. But sometimes it feels a bit much and she seems to be getting things wrong more and more. And her friends seemed to have disappeared and no one seems to understand it’s not going as well as it looks.

Arming our future adults with the skills to not only recognise unhealthy and controlling behaviour but also how to deal with it and not enter further into relationships that aren’t’ healthy.

“It was an incredible experience, very interactive and highly engaging” Teacher.

“I now understand when domestic violence starts and what to do.”Student.