PIONEERING improvised drama workshops aimed at bringing people closer together have been devised by a Burnley theatre company.

The Playback workshops involve members of the audience telling stories from their lives, which are then enacted by performers.

Leslie Davidoff, artistic director of the Watch This Space theatre company, came up with the idea to improve social cohesion.

He is now hoping to turn it into a viable business by taking it into workplaces, schools and community centres.

Leslie, of Brierfield, described Playback as a form of entertainment that promotes personal development.

The stories can be based on anything from trivial events to life-affirming moments or tragic occurrences.

Leslie said: “Basically, because we are telling your own story, it has a lot of meaning for you personally.

"So, while it is fun and entertaining, it can also be very emotional too because it gets you to think and reflect.

“It can help to boost personal development and team bonding, and it’s also a great way of developing social cohesion because it brings people together.

“I used to be in professional theatre for 20 years and then became a counsellor, a psychotherapist and a trainer.

"In a way, I guess Playback is a combination of all of those elements.”

Watch This Space is a social enterprise, formed in November 2009, with help from the Burnley Opportunities Board.

Leslie is hoping for more support from the board, to allow the company to roll out more workshops.

He said: “Our long-term aim is to become a viable company that earns enough income to enable us to do this full-time.

"We are not looking to make a profit but we do want to become self-sustainable.”