‘Humans are not herds [and] applying the same standards leads to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the centre of the equation.’

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO

Brutal Arithmetic is a multi-media song cycle in which a socially-excluded community comes face to face with Britain’s ruling elite.

It is inspired by Jim Mortram’s long-form photography project ‘Small Town Inertia’, which documents the lives of ordinary people in a Norfolk town as they struggle with the effects of long-term unemployment, physical and mental health problems, addiction, disability, the impact of austerity and COVID.

Their stark and eloquent testimonies appear alongside Jim’s photographs.

It’s a powerful and truthful and moving record of what has been happening to the poor and the marginalised in this country over the last decade. The small town is Dereham in Norfolk, but it could be anywhere in the UK.

The theatre has almost entirely ignored this constituency, both as a subject and audience and we need to fix this. The time to do so is now, when both ‘non-productive’ and Arts communities alike are being undermined and disenfranchised by this government’s policies.

BRUTAL ARITHMETIC is a collaboration between a group of theatre makers, Jim Mortram and the people of Dereham.

The sound of love and destruction. The sound of small-town England.
Because we’re all in this together. Or some of us are.