Written by Sarah Daniels / Produced by Theatre of Debate


Ruby starts work as a cleaner to support her daughter and grandson, for Susannah a lawyer. One day while cleaning Susannah’s house she discover’s Susannah’s son hiding at home when he should be at school. Acclaimed playwright Sarah Daniel’s comedy drama provides a starting point for debating issues around our relationship to food.’

Developed in partnership with The Wellcome Trust, and The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). ‘Hungry’ is supported by the Wellcome Trust.


Focus: Our relationship with food, health, food and well being, food banks, Obesity, Diabetes, the sugar debate, Class

Audience: Young people (14 plus) and adults

Length: 60 minutes

Full Film: Available through Theatre of Debate, with subtitles by Stagetext

Resources: Available for teachers and students, science communicators and health workers



Hungry is a contemporary drama about two very different women from two very different families, whose lives become inextricably intertwined when Susanna, an ambitious young lawyer, employs Ruby, a grandmother, as her cleaner.

Susanna is in the process of making a fortune representing a global fizzy drinks company, and Tobias, her husband, is away in India working on a genetically modified rice project. As a result, she finds herself almost too busy to look after her spoilt, overweight teenage son Xavier, much as she loves him.

Ruby, on the other hand, has had low-paid, unskilled manual jobs all her life. Her husband died young of a heart attack. What she might lack in intellectual ability, she makes up for in humour and emotional intelligence. Ruby is grateful for the job as she is desperate to find ways of supporting her daughter and grandson Ashley.

As a result of a mental health condition her daughter is unemployed and about to lose her benefits. Money is so tight, Ruby’s daughter has had to resort to using a food bank in order to try and feed Ashley and herself. With some money coming in and the left over food that she smuggles home from Susanna’s lavish dinner parties, Ruby finds she can take the pressure off her family.

Everything changes when, one morning, Ruby discovers Xavier hiding in a kitchen cupboard. He’s playing truant from school to avoid games. (He is teased and bullied because he is so overweight.) At first Ruby says that he has to go back to school and when he refuses she says she’ll have to tell his mother. Xavier turns on Ruby threatening to blackmail her – while hiding in the kitchen cupboard, he’s secretly filmed her ‘stealing’ the left over food. If Ruby tells Susanna that he has been playing truant, he will tell Susanna that Ruby is a thief.

Desperate to keep her job, Ruby doesn’t tell Susanna about Xavier. However, matters come to a head when one day Susanna asks Ruby to accompany Xavier to the doctor because she is busy in court. The doctor explains to Xavier that he is obese and there is a strong possibility if he doesn’t change his behaviour he will develop type 2 diabetes.

Xavier tells Ruby that she must not tell his mother the truth about what the doctor has told them and when Ruby says she will have to tell Susanna, Xavier once again threatens to tell his mother that Ruby is a thief and cannot be trusted.

Ruby goes to tell Suzannna…

Character Posters

Cast Interviews

Interviews with Experts

Future of Food

Workshop Gallery