THE DARKNESS OR ELSE THE LIGHT was a new full-length play commissioned by Strange Town, written especially for their 14-18 youth theatre group, in response to the theme "Fear of the Unknown".


An anonymous hack – an act of sabotage or revenge – kicks off a chain of events that changes the whole of society.

Suddenly a group of young people must learn how to survive in a world where the private has become public, everyone’s data is out there for all to see, and a person’s every action can apparently be predicted. As the temptation grows to spy on their peers, they must confront the question: do we ever really know each other?

Informed by discussions with the group and inspired by their interests and preoccupations, I wrote a play that was a sort of thought experiment, starting with the erosion of privacy for young people in the here and now thanks to social media, and then spiralling into a dystopian near-future vision of a world where personality testing data leads everyone to believe that the fundamental truth of each individual is now available for all to see.

THE DARKNESS OR ELSE THE LIGHT was produced on the main stage at the Traverse Theatre in June 2018.

Review quotes:


“thought-provoking... a socially-relevant drama … smartly addresses issues such as cyber-bullying and slut-shaming“

– The Wee Review


“subtle, well-crafted .. a genius concept of the social pressures facing the so-called ‘snowflake’ generation ... Salisbury’s writing offers an exceptionally important message regarding our own self-value against social media pressure to share“

– Reviews Hub

Production photos (credit Andy Catlin):



















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