NEWS: New play The Secondary Victim to open at Park, post-show Q&A on 21 November

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Written by former psychotherapist, Matthew Campling, the world premiere production of The Secondary Victim explores the growing world of blame culture within psychotherapy in private practice. Inspired by real life experiences and with insider insights into an increasing problem for the profession, this new production directed by Matthew Gould explores the vulnerability of counsellors in the age of accusation.

The Secondary Victim runs at the Park Theatre from 4 November to 9 December, and the performance on Tuesday 21 November will be followed by a Q&A session led by Mates co-founder Terri Paddock.

The production will star Susannah Doyle (About A Boy, Drop The Dead Donkey, Apple Tree Yard)Gary Webster (Minder, Family Affairs, EastEnders)Natasha Bain, Michael Hanratty, Matt Holt and Christopher Laishley.

Ali is a respected psychotherapist and loyal wife. When she receives a complaint of sexual impropriety by a young male former client, her professional and personal world is thrown into a maelstrom of suspicion and distrust. Against a background of contemporary blame culture, Ali finds herself fighting for her reputation, her marriage and eventually her life.

Writer Matthew Campling  has a BA Honours in Counselling and a Master’s Degree in Psychotherapy. In addition to his twenty years of private practice, Matthew was a regular guest expert on ITV’s Trisha, and was a popular media spokesperson on the subject of male mental health. He has had three non-fiction books in the area of therapy published. The Secondary Victim is his 10th produced play.

Matthew Campling notes:

In 2014, a former client made allegations of serious unethical behaviour against me. Despite my being exonerated by the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy), this hugely distressing experience made me acutely aware of how a therapist can be compromised outside the counseling room. We must always protect victims and investigate accusations, but the current, ever-mounting rise of ethical enquiries means this issue is an increasing area of counselor vulnerability.

The BACP’s number of complaints by clients taken to an ethical panel review has rocketed from 17 in 2010 to 74 in 2016. The Secondary Victim shows both sides of this concerning statistic, inspired by Matthew Campling’s personal experience.


Susannah Doyle’s (playing Ali) stage credits include Adult Supervision (Park Theatre), Hurly Burly (Old Vic/West End) and Airsick (Bush Theatre). Her television credits include Black Mirror (Netflix), Death in Paradise (BBC), Outnumbered (BBC), Ballykissangel (BBC) and Drop The Dead Donkey (Channel 4).

Gary Webster’s (playing Victor) television roles include Minder, The BillThe Blonde Bombshell (ITV) and EastEnders (BBC).His film credits have included The Investigator (Channel 4 Films), The Big Game (String of Pearls Films) and Name of the Game (Best Wishes Films Ltd).

Natasha Bain’s (playing Marilyn) stage work includes Richard II (The Arcola), In The Blood (Finborough), The Wedding Dance (Bolton Octagon), The Royal Hunt of The Sun (National Theatre), The Lion & The Jewel (Barbican Theatre), The Gondoliers/The Water Babies (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Lion King (Lyceum)and Merry Wives of Windsor Twelfth Night (Regents Park Open Air).

Michael Hanratty plays Hugo. Michael’s theatre credits include: Consumables (Kings Head), Titus Andronicus (Arcola), Burn To The GroundYellow Mood, Balm In Gilead, Wolfgang (Studio Soho). His film credits include: Different and The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan.

Matt Holt’s (playing Jonny) stage credits include The Trial (Hope Mill Theatre, Summerhall & HOME), Looking For The Angel In Flight (Hope Mill Theatre), The Art of Loving Lexi (Hope Mill Theatre), The Horse Show (Camden People’s Theatre) and Anti Social Media (Paines Plough Roundabout).

Christopher Laishley’s (playing Teddy) stage credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Oxford Shakespeare Company), Incident at Vichy (King’s Head Theatre), Hedda (After Ibsen) (Theatre N16) and Richard III (Rose Theatre).

Matthew Campling’s stage writing credits include The English Heart and Abominations (Etcetera Theatre), Sweetest Gift (Hen & Chickens), Blind Faith (Soho Poly), Endpapers (Lyric Theatre, Johannesburg), The Good Woman of Sandton (Market Theatre), Full Frontal (Square Space, Durban), The Logic of Fear (Box Theatre) and Late. Gone Late (Market Theatre).

Matthew Gould’s 
directing credits include The Pete ‘n Keely Show (Tristan Bates Theatre), Hello, Norma Jeane and The Glass Protégé (Park Theatre), I’m Getting my Act Together and Taking It On the Road (Jermyn Street Theatre) and The Telescope (Aloff Theatre).

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MyTheatreMates publishes a selection of daily press releases sent to us by publicists of the relevant show or theatre. We are not responsible for any inaccuracies contained within these materials.

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