Jackie standing in front of a wall smoking a cigarette
Artist Jackie Hagan.

Jackie Hagan – This Is Not A Safe Space

Benefit cuts are hitting disabled people the hardest. Half of people in poverty are disabled or live with a disabled person. The future looks grim, so how can we get people to sit up, listen and care and not keel over with empathy-fatigue? Jackie Hagan’s way has been to make a new solo show that features the real voices of proper skint disabled people who she’s got to know in and around Manchester.

Jackie conducted 43 interviews with people living on the fringes and the spaces in between. They are not sob stories, they are fully rounded lives full of the spiky humour and the complicated weirdness of being human. Jackie wove these narratives together with poetry and anecdotes, celebrating the weird, the wonky, the unruly, and the resilient.

This is Not a Safe Space blended audience interaction, DIY puppetry, poetic comedy, comedic poetry, a massive game of metaphorical ‘Kerplunk’ centre stage, and one underclass amputee steering the show.

Press quotes

‘A luminous storyteller… Her direct, honest and optimistic style makes her instantly likeable’ Upstaged Manchester on Jackie Hagan.

‘Above all there is the fierce optimism and dogged determination to turn tragedy into something quirkily, crazily beautiful.’ Sabotage Reviews on Jackie Hagan.

‘Jackie is not here to tell us sob stories that give us “empathy-fatigue”. She is here, in a brazen and brightly coloured burst of energy, to share truths, to make us think – and to make us laugh, too.’ Theatre Weekly.

‘Whilst still avoiding ‘pity porn’ or empathy fatigue, This Not a Safe Space sensitively addresses the harsh reality of navigating our modern social security system.’ Disability Arts Online.

Watch the trailer.


27 March
The Lowry, Manchester
15 February 2020
8 December 2019
Words Weekend 2019, Gateshead
27 April 2019
'I'm Here Where Are You?' Festival, Cambridge Junction
1 December 2018
14 November 2018
Lancaster Arts, Lancaster
19 October 2018
Trinity Community Arts Centre
12 October 2018
28 September 2018
15 September 2018
The Mill Arts Centre
14 September 2018
Punk in Drublic
8 September 2018
Unlimited Festival, Southbank Centre, London

Production details

Big Feast
Set & Costume designer
Katharine Heath
Lighting designer
Sherry Coenen
Puppetry consultant
Gretchen Maynard-Hahn
Audio consultant
David James


Useful links

Artist website