New Play Uses Innovative Tech To Discuss Toxic Beauty Standards

Would you trade five years of your life for the perfect body? A brand-new play touring to Keswick next week asks audiences this very question and tells the story of one woman who is prepared to do just that.

'5 Years', which comes to Theatre by the Lake 28 and 29 April, uses cutting edge hologram technology to turn the spotlight on body dissatisfaction and the devastating effects it can have on our mental health.

The show centres on Yasmin, a woman in her 30s who wants the exciting, glamorous life she has always dreamed of but that her XXL body doesn't fit. She is about to undertake a radical cosmetic procedure that promises to deliver the perfect body and the contentment that seems just out of reach. But it comes at a cost.

Writer and performer Hayley Davis said, "I’m really excited to bring this play to the stage. Although the subject matter is quite serious, it’s a funny and warm show that uses some really ambitious, innovative tech. As someone who has struggled with my own body image, I am very familiar with the damage that we can do to ourselves in the hope of measuring up to an ever shifting ideal of beauty. I think if more of us stopped and thought about it, we’d realise that our time could be better spent on pursuing other things."

A 2011 survey conducted in the UK found that 30% of women would trade at least one year of their life to achieve their ideal body. 20% would trade five years of their life. In '5 Years', the possibility of this exchange is a reality. Yasmin will be the first woman to undergo this procedure. As she waits for the doctor to arrive and ‘fix’ her she reveals her experiences and the messages she has received that have brought her to this drastic decision.

'5 Years' is a drama written by Hayley Davis, directed by Rebecca Gadsby and supported by Sheffield Theatres. Using innovative digital technology developed with Sheffield Hallam University, it looks at how we are bombarded with negative messages about our appearance and how this influences the way we see ourselves. Ultimately it asks, what do we lose in the quest for perfection?