BREATHE was the second performance by Athenaeum Productions, an independent production company founded by recent Whitgift graduate, George Jaques. Following the success of their first production, Dilate, a hard-hitting yet unprejudiced account of adolescent drug culture, their second play focused on further issues prevalent amongst young people today – anxiety, mental health struggles and teenage suicide.

George wrote BREATHE over five days, in October 2017, straight after the sell-out run of Dilate. He then edited and re-worked the script for the next 10 months, collaborating with director, Hannah Hauer-King. George was thrilled to gain Hannah’s professional input, saying, “She is so awesome and really cares – a huge talent and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

The play ran for five nights at The Bunker Theatre, near London Bridge, in aid of NSPCC’s Childline who receive a call from a child in need every 25 seconds. Not only raising awareness for this service, the production collected over £1,200 to donate to Childline – a very worthwhile cause.

BREATHE certainly lived up to expectations, cleverly depicting the trials and challenges of three different relationships. The actors optimised the simple set superbly to draw in the audience and the well-crafted script effectively combined moments of chaos, contemplation and dark humour. Huge congratulations go to George, his fellow Whitgiftian cast, production members and the rest of the team who helped produce such a poignant portrayal.

Speaking of his highlight from the whole process, George commented, “Taking a team of young actors on a journey from doing mainly school shows to performing in a professional Off West End venue was so exciting for me. It was a bonus that the play sold out and was so well received.”

Having gained a place at University for September 2019, George has a lot of interesting projects to keep him busy over the next 12 months. He is working on a number of shows and films and hopes to collaborate more with Sky. George enthused, “It is hectic but so fun and having such a supportive team around enables me to keep working on multiple things.”

What’s next for Athenaeum Productions? The team will be starting to shoot a new film in September and they are also looking to welcome even more new talent to the group. George hopes the new film will raise awareness of another important topic, Child Sexual Abuse (one in 20 children in the UK are sexually abused), as well as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). We wish George all the best and look forward to hearing more about his future projects.