Drama from the streets; as real as it gets

You won’t find much in the way of special effects in our films. No monsters, no aliens, no space ships, no big budget sets from another world. Instead we have to rely on what we can find in this world: real people, real stories, real passion, real drama. That’s why all the scripts have been evolved from ideas and stories told by the actors. It’s drama from the street – as real as it gets.

Our first short film Humanitas was released in 2008 to widespread acclaim. Since then we have made several short films, multi-media stage productions and a music video.

Video camera image to complement the Films page

Our film ‘Penalty’ was accepted into 7 film festivals worldwide. It received an ‘honorable mention’, a ‘bronze award’ and a ‘platinum award’. This was a significant acknowledgement of our actors’ achievements.


This story of hope came out of a fresh look at some of our most popular fairytales. Imagine a vegan wolf or adult Hansel and Gretel trapped in the woods for many years, Then the dwarfs who were tricked into becoming full size and thereby losing their livelihoods. Then there’s Cinderella facing trial for a range of crimes against the many fairytale characters. At the heart of it is a young boy longing for hope. In the midst of his crazy dreams he finds it.

This film has been shown successfully at a number of film festivals. It has so far received 3 awards, so it is attracting the attention of the film world internationally.

 Enjoy this heartfelt story . . .  


Just imagine 3 men struggling to understand what they are watching. Confusion comes when they try to make sense of it and explain it to each other. What about the news? Or the reality show? or the crime investigation – an unusual murder. Or shopping for the latest in board games? The bizzar scenes unfold before them …


3 elderly gents on sofa

A Farce About a Musical Courtcase

The idea of a courtcase drama popped up from various improvisation and script sessions in the workshops and felt right for our central ‘film within a film’. Would it be a musical, as in the title? Make your mind up when you’ve seen the film.

But the film was never about the courtcase… it was always about the process around it – the fun of seeing what might happen if a bunch of ordinary people tried to pull something off without any professional help – and the warmth of the community spirit that sees them through.



Penalty is the second of our films to move into the mainstream, focussing not so much on issues around homelessness but on creating a film that is gripping and entertaining, with a dash of socio-political comment thrown in. We take the audience through the doors of an innocuous seeming hotel, into a dystopian brave new world. When Danny and Jada check in, it soon became clear that checking out may not be an option.

Production of Penalty by Acting on Impulse

Press Call for Help

Four characters trapped together are each forced to reflect on the soul-destroying events of their day. Deconstructing the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, the dilemmas and choices society faces are revealed in their lives. Through skillful narrative and dynamic characters, the actors explore the complexities of immigration, economic volatility, domestic abuse and obsession, making the same demand on the audience as they do on themselves: to move beyond the headline in search of reality.

Press Call For Help Featured Image

Life’s a Lottery

Win, Lose or Dream

Our project this year was quite different. We explored the theme of winning the lottery – what would be their dreams? What would the impact be? The result was a series of 10 films; monologues, duologues and groups of 3 and 4. Each one revealed something about themselves. Some of the performances were very brave and spoke profoundly of the issues they have faced in life. They are very moving.

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The Box

The latest film from Acting on Impulse is a feature length film starring actors from the fortnightly programme of workshops. Few have any previous acting experience before coming to AOI.

Ed Lily joined us as script writer and co-director. His talent for drawing out stories, teaching new acting techniques and developing powerful narrative will leave you thinking about how our most vulnerable citizens are treated by society. Joe Chambers was also part of the writing team and co-director. He brought his well established relationship with the actors to a new level as he worked on group dynamics and some of the more comedic elements of the film.

The Box was filmed entirely in a Salford warehouse with an imaginative set created by designer, Tony Boffey. The film appears to be a reality TV programme – but all is not all that it seems. Do take time to watch this intriguing film. Watch how each character develops through the story.

The Box Film Promo Image
“There is an interesting twist to this tale of a group of people on the margins of society who are brought together in ‘The Box’. We were grateful to actor/singer Kavana who played himself in a cameo role in the film.”
David Tomlinson, crew member

The Box – Behind the Scenes

Catch a glimpse of what happened behind the scenes in Acting on Impulse’s first feature length film, ‘The Box’.

Created by James Statham, this documentary encapsulates in a nutshell the filming of, ‘The Box’. It brings to life the reality of filming and also captures the heart of Acting on Impulse and its actors.

This film shows the care and expertise that goes into making this our most ambitious project to date.”
Lauren Pouchly, producer
Filming photo from The Box

Life after Street Life

The ‘mockumentary’ following up the music video characters

Acting on Impulse’s 2014 project is a ‘mockumentary’ which follows up on the lives of the characters from the music video, ‘Street Life’. Once more it is set on the streets of Manchester and features the soup van – the centre for those from the homeless community.

There are four episodes. 

Life after Street Life photo

Street Life

AOI Street Life – the music video

This was another new challenge for our actors. The process was probably the most complex of any of our projects. They had to learn rhythm as well as contribute story themes, create their own characters and learn the song. It involved a full day in a recording studio followed by 3 intensive days of filming. The locations set a challenge with filming in a bus stop, on derelict sites, in graveyards, in a library, in a day centre, in car parks, in a bar etc. etc. And what a success with a live launch at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester followed by a successful launch on You Tube.

This was a humorous way to explore dark subjects with a light humorous touch. Through the music video we were able to deliver a punchy and truthful message. We were very grateful to John Henshaw who took a cameo role in the extended version of the music video.
Lauren Pouchly, producer
Street Life Films image

Street Life (Behind the Scenes)

This is a very telling documentary about the making of the music video, ‘Street Life’. It captures comments from the actors, producer and director as well as showing some behind the scenes footage of the filming. It is a must see film.

It was so good to hear the actors own reactions to being part of the production of the music video, ‘Street Life’. The whole thing gives a good idea of 3 intensive days of filming at 14 locations.
Lauren Pouchly, producer
Street Life (Behind the Scenes) Films Image

Deep Within

This was a very ambitious multi-media production. The mystery drama was developed with the cast and the help of a professional writer who joined the workshops to draw out the storyline. It was a play that had something to say on several levels. It touched on issues of difference, survival and acceptance. There were film excerpts from a day centre for homeless people, a hostel for recovering alcoholics and an agency supporting homeless young adults.

This was our grittiest and most hard hitting production yet. It was entertainment that changed the actors, the crew and the audience. We are proud of what the actors achieved in this intriguing story.
Lauren Pouchly, producer
Deep Within Films Image

The Invitation

‘The Invitation’ is the story of a bunch of hapless people attempting to get to a wedding. There are many twists and turns, but the happy couple do finally tie the knot.

This has been the most ambitious film yet with a combined film crew, cast and extras of over 100. We were so happy to include people from the Cornerstone Day Centre and Positive Lifestyles hostel as extras. We were also delighted to have Dave Spikey and Neil Fitzmaurice contributing cameo roles in the film.
Lauren Pouchly, producer
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Dream on the Streets

The course of true love never runs smooth especially when sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester

This was our introduction to Shakespeare – an adaptation of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Instead of the forest of Arden, it was on the streets of Manchester. The Shakespearean language was retained and on occasion was a real challenge. This was a multi-media production with about a third of the scenes being pre-filmed. The actors pulled it off on two near full house performances in Altrincham and the Z Arts theatre in Hulme.

This has been a real challenge. Some of our actors were going through really hard times including sleeping rough at the time of the performances. Yet there were standing ovations at both performances. We are so proud of what they achieved.
Lauren Pouchly, producer
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Under the Tracks

Where the real streets lie.

The success of Humanitas lead to a huge increase in participants at the workshops, which allowed us to discover more talent, more stories and explore more territory. Released in May 2009, Under the Tracks was our second short film and took Acting on Impulse to new levels of social drama. Under the Tracks was co-produced with Finite Productions.

Learning about the reality of life on the streets has been a huge journey for me, but the real credit goes to the actors, most of whom have had experience of homelessness. What you see in the film is authentic, it’s what really does happen on the streets.
Lauren Pouchly, producer
Under the Tracks Film Image

New Feature Film

With two short films now out in the public domain, our next challenge is a feature film – taking these people and their stories to new levels, and increasing public understanding of the issues. Finite Productions Ltd have helped make this possible for us, and the project is now in development.


In March 2009 we were invited to perform our first live performance at a fundraising event. Devised by the actors themselves, their performance of Vanity Fair was well received. We have since produced two ambitious multi-media stage productions. These were ‘Dream on the Streets’ and ‘Deep Within’.