Show summary  |    Contact details  |    Photos  |    Trailers  |    What are reviews saying?  |    What are audiences saying?  |    E-programme  |    Science behind the show  |    Story behind the show  |    Who are Steve and Chris?  |    Logos  |    Press releases  |  

Show summary

Join award-winning psychologist and songwriter Steve Bonham, along with ace composer and musician Chris 'The Bishop' Lydon for our interactive wellbeing musical-show thingy! With humour, storytelling, great songs and gentle audience participation, discover the "Five Rules of the Road" for a better existence. Contemplating today's weird and unpredictable world, gain insights from psychology and life on the road. Wise, entertaining and different, this is the perfect pick-me-up to help you thrive in our mad world. Don't miss this unforgettable experience!

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Contact details



30 sec trailer

4 min trailer

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What are reviews saying?

Very good show, FringeReview

"Very good show" -

10 August 2023

  • "Come to this show and you can disco without leaving your seat!"
  • "Entertaining and refreshingly different."
  • "Chris Lydon is an excellent raconteur, very much at ease with his audience, engaging and informing and keeping the show flowing seamlessly."
  • "Steve Bonham is... engaging, funny and a very original thinker."
  • "Sound practical advice neatly camouflaged with large dollops of silliness."

"Wellbeing communication made fun" -

10 August 2023

  • "This well-tuned duo delivers an enjoyable performance, enriched by light-hearted music moments."
  • "A fun piece of wellbeing and mental health communication."
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What are audiences saying?

A joyous confection of songs, musings and audience participation. There is no way you will leave this show not feeling happier than went you went in.

Brilliant! An engaging and enjoyable way to learn how to take the first step to improving your wellbeing. Thoroughly entertaining and useful!

Your songs, charm, and uplifting message are great!

An uplifting journey on which you don’t realise you’re having therapy.

A most enjoyable practical antidote to life's stresses - in words, actions and music.

Those songs are going to be in my head all night!

The comedy, the music, the massage. It was like watching Bill Bailey, if he’d been split into two...

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Science behind the show

The Story of the Five Rules

The genesis of the five rules for flourishing in an unpredictable world originated not from academic studies but from a life on the road, exploring diverse cultures and engaging in conversations with people from various backgrounds. Over years of travel and encounters with communities such as the Pueblo, Imazighen, rural Romanians, Namibian Bushmen, Sahara Bedouins, and more, it became evident that the wisdom of ordinary people holds profound insights.

These insights reflect lives centred on the values individuals hold, the skills they celebrate, the depth of their friendships, and their resilience in seeking solutions and persisting despite challenges. Rooted in our evolutionary past, these discovered wisdoms originate from communities where collaboration is essential, and authenticity is a fact not an aspiration.

What is remarkable is that these principles align with the latest discoveries in psychology, therapy, and neuroscience. We believe they capture universal truths, wisdom that resonate across cultures. Rather than strict "rules," they offer guidance and insights that, if overlooked, may make life more difficult.

The Five Rules

Be Wild - present and open to the possibilities of yourself and the world around you.

Be Strong - rooted in your values, skills, and passions.

Be Experimental – Embrace curiosity and a willingness to try new things fosters personal growth and adaptability.

Travel With Companions - Connect deeply with supportive and caring individuals who share your values and provide mutual support.

Take the First Step - Procrastination can hinder progress and personal growth. Take that initial step, no matter how small, keeps you moving forward and builds momentum.

These beliefs serve as guiding principles that promote resilience, personal growth, and meaningful connections. They provide a roadmap for navigating the challenges of an unpredictable world, enabling individuals to live happier and more fulfilled lives even amidst uncertainty and volatility. They offer a ancient new way of being in the world.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

The link between the five rules and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) lies in their shared focus on mindset, behaviour, and well-being. CBT emphasizes the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, aiming to promote positive change. Similarly, the five rules address the importance of mindset shifts and behavioural adjustments to enhance one's life. They encourage being present and challenging limiting beliefs (Be Wild), identifying strengths (Be Strong), exploring new behaviours (Be Experimental), fostering social connections (Travel With Companions), and taking action (Take the First Step). These principles align with the core principles of CBT, promoting well-being through cognitive and behavioural transformations.

Evolutionary Psychology

The five rules and evolutionary psychology are linked through their shared understanding of how certain behaviours and traits have evolved in humans over time. The rules, such as being present, resilient, curious, forming social connections, and taking action, align with fundamental human tendencies that have provided evolutionary advantages. These tendencies, developed through natural selection, allowed our ancestors to survive, thrive, and pass on their genes. The rules tap into our innate inclinations, reflecting the deep-rooted connections between human behaviour, evolution, and the adaptability that has contributed to our species' success.

Stoic Philosophy
The link between the five rules and Stoic philosophy lies in their shared emphasis on personal resilience, virtue, and acceptance of the present moment. Stoicism teaches individuals to focus on what is within their control, cultivate inner strength, and embrace life's uncertainties. Similarly, the five rules promote being present, rooted in values, open to exploration, fostering deep connections, and taking action. Both Stoicism and the rules encourage individuals to navigate the unpredictable world with a sense of purpose, tranquility, and an unwavering commitment to living a virtuous and fulfilling life.


The link between the five rules and neuroscience lies in our understanding of how the brain functions. Neuroscience research supports the benefits of mindfulness (Be Wild), the brain's adaptability (Be Strong), the value of new experiences (Be Experimental), the importance of social connections (Travel With Companions), and the motivation gained from taking action (Take the First Step). These principles align with brain processes related to attention, neuroplasticity, social reward, and the brain's reward system. The latest discoveries in neuroscience validate and provide scientific basis for the positive effects of the five rules on mental well-being and behaviour.

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The story behind the show

The original book, How To Survive and Thrive in an Impossible World, was written during lockdown by Steve Bonham, an author, songwriter and award-winning psychologist. It has been described as "challenging, funny, radical and unlike any other 'how to' book you have ever read!"

Prompted by his own experience of how exhausted and stressed he found the NHS staff were whilst he was receiving treatment for cancer, Steve saw a need for an innovative way to break through the permafrost of helplessness in which so many of us are trapped. He came up with the idea of the performance which celebrated our humanity, made us laugh, whilst gently facilitating the onboarding of critical survival skills and ideas.

Steve worked with long-time collaborator, Chris ‘the Bishop’ Lydon, a creative producer, musician and composer to create the new and innovative show.

The show was developed in 2022 with support from Arts Council England, Air Arts and University Hospitals of Derby and Burton. Passionate about the power of the arts to inspire and heal, Steve and Chris are bringing the show to new audiences across the country, focussing on studio theatres, workplaces, community venues and festivals. In fact, wherever people are looking for an antidote for these strange times!

What can the audience expect? Laughter, great stories, wonderful songs, gentle audience participation, including some dancing, inspiring new ideas, and to leave with a smile on their face and an uplifted spirit.

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Who are Steve and Chris?

Steve Bonham is a writer, musician, adventurer and award-winning psychologist. He has released ten albums and written five books, the latest being Stumbling Over Eden, about his trek from the top of the Atlas Mountains into the Sahara desert. His previous book, How to Survive and Thrive in an Impossible World, is the starting point for all things How to Survive and Thrive!

Christopher Lydon is a renowned producer, musician, arranger and composer. He has performed around the UK and Europe, and has worked on projects with the BBC, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Channel 4, The Hallé Orchestra, Global Grooves, Air Arts, and 1623 theatre company, including running wellbeing and arts & health events in hospitals, community settings, the criminal justice system, and arts centres.

Together they are members of The Long Road band and partners in many other musical and theatrical activities. The Long Road, which includes their friend Kev Moore, created the American Wilderness Odyssey album and theatre show which tours the UK, alongside performances, gigs and festivals.

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Artisan Creative

How To Survive and Thrive in an Impossible World - with a piano!

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Press releases

Download PDF Download DOC Label Title
Download PDF Download DOC Press release: 7 August 2023 A pioneering alliance at Edinburgh Fringe for debut mental wellbeing show
Download PDF Download DOC Press release: 25 July 2023 Artisan Creative unveils innovative audience engagement tool for debut Edinburgh Fringe show
Download PDF Download DOC Press release: 26 June 2023 A Joyous Show for Troubled Times heading to Edinburgh Festival Fringe (updated)
Download PDF Download DOC Press release: 11 April 2023 A Joyous Show for Troubled Times heading to Edinburgh Festival Fringe
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