WHEN workaholic Kate finds an inflatable male doll in her office, she keeps it as an act of defiance against her workplace bullies.

The last thing she expects is to develop feelings for it, but in the quiet moments between meetings and during long nights at work, the doll becomes the only person who listens to her without judgement, and very quickly the only person she can be herself around.

As the doll begins to take on a mind of its own, Kate is forced to face up to her dreams and desires for the first time in her life.

Me and My Doll, by Paperback, is one of the five new plays making up this weekend’s FUSE festival at Shoebox Theatre in Swindon.

A touching and hilarious play about the challenges, joys and pitfalls of allowing yourself to be vulnerable, Me and My Doll, at 8.45pm on Saturday, is a romantic comedy with a twist.

FUSE begins with Castles Palaces Castles by Significant Other on Friday at 7pm, followed by Our Time at Julian’s, by Flop.

The two-day festival continues on Saturday with COPYRIGHT by Dollybox at 6.30pm and Sex, Violence and Insanity by Rhys Denton at 7.30pm, before concluding with Me and My Doll.

The new festival is offers mentoring and a performance opportunity for emerging artists, and for audiences, a chance to be part of the beginnings of new work before it is fully developed.

These are pay-what-you-can performances. To book, visit shoeboxtheatre.org.uk.