The 3rd Sector

A new, seemingly naive charity worker walks out of her gap year and into her corporate office. Problems arise as she and the play cast a suspicious light on the inner workings of our capitalist charity sector, analysing why and how we give to those in need in this smart, funny, biting satire.

Every other line is a side-splitting surprise and the play is continually knocking you on your back foot to bellow in laughter

The 3rd Sector pulls in a colourful and recognisable array of characters, from the overly hapless fundraiser and the overly slick head of PR to the overly spiritual singer behind a patronising charity single. But these parodied characters always remain wonderfully believable, never quite resorting to mere mockery or coming down on anyone’s particular side. Everyone’s motives are closely dissected and no-one comes out looking good. Pursuing a career concerned with giving doesn’t make them any less selfish: being in the business side of charity simply renders them more business-minded than charitable. Characters sometimes seem slightly simplified for the sake of a cleaner, more coherent plot-progression or message, but the clarity is refreshing and ought to be welcomed when not done to excess.

The script itself is a curious mix of office pleasantries and unconsciously hilarious observations. Every other line is a side-splitting surprise and the play is continually knocking you on your back foot to bellow in laughter, in a manner much more effective than a serious tirade against hypocrisy in the charity sector would be. It is never less entertaining than it is thought-provoking.

The acting, too is of a solid standard, although it seems repetitive: it is as if the cast are playing the same scene again and again, just with different sounds coming out. One wonders how much direction the nonetheless skilled actors actually received. Staging, too, is quite elementary, each scene apparently identically blocked. These factors do bring down a show that could have benefited from being slightly more thought-out as a theatrical performance, but the thought given to the story and writing still makes this a production very much worth seeing.

Reviews by Henry St Leger

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Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Inspired by real-life experiences. When employees Marlin and Josh discover their role in a corrupt corporate charity, can they reconcile their choices? This celebrity backed charity wants you to 'give a piece of yourself' - literally. But how much is enough? A darkly comic satire examining the ethics of giving when we donate first and ask questions later.

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