The short report describes the development from page to stage of a work of theatre based on an ethnographic study. The originating research focused on the work of health care assistants (nurse's aides) whose direct impact on the quality of life of highly dependent people is often overlooked. The research followed hospital personnel on wards specialising in the 'challenging behaviour' associated with dementia in central England. Conventional research outputs failed to engage the health care assistants themselves, so we turned to theatre to remedy this. The development of the field notes into theatre was characterised by the artistic freedom given to the playwright, in contrast to more data-led approaches to theatre making. The account of the process of creating the play, Inside Out of Mind, is followed a description of how the work was received by specialist and general audiences totalling 2000þ. The discussion seeks to locate the whole enterprise in relation to the field of research-based theatre and explores how the production and its associated learning events relate to definitions of research-based theatre in the light of recent attempts to encapsulate this broad and diverse methodology.