Female Arts’ new Friend Scheme

 

Wendy Thompson, Editor of Female Arts

Wendy Thompson, Editor of Female Arts

Female Arts magazine launched a friend scheme on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016.

The online arts review magazine, headed by Editor-In-Chief Wendy Thomson is based at South Street Arts Centre, Reading and reviews events across the UK.

“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PledgeForParity where business leaders from Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group to Mark A. Weinberger the CEO of E&Y have made the pledge. We’re inviting everyone to make the pledge by joining our friend scheme so that we can continue our work to promote gender equality in the arts.”

Female Arts magazine annually reviews hundreds of female led performances, exhibitions and events and has a dedicated volunteer team of writers.

Female Arts also produce events. Wendy Thomson said, “As part of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations we co-produced the launch of a new award for emerging female playwrights at the Greenwich Theatre in London – RED Women’s Theatre Award on Sunday 6th March 2016. We have also organized events at The Southbank Centre and The Bread and Roses Theatre, working with other advocates for gender equality including Gender and Performance (GAP) Salon and the So and So Arts Club.”

The Female Arts friend scheme is available to join from £30 a year at www.femalearts.com/friend where the benefits include a profile on the Female Arts website and networking opportunities.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/femalearts
Twitter www.twitter.com/femalearts

Advertisements
Posted in FemaleArts, feminism, gender equality, Opportunities, resources, Women playwrights, women writers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

RED Women’s Theatre Awards launches this Sunday

effie.jpg

Effie Samara

A new award for female playwrights will be launched at Greenwich Theatre on Sunday, March 6, with rehearsed readings of four one act plays presenting four challenging political voices.

The RED Women’s Theatre Award, co-produced by creative online magazine Female Arts, is the idea of playwright Effie Samara, whose current research at the University of Glasgow is focused on the potential for revolution in female-authored British drama.
“I’ve had it in my head for 10 or 15 years but this seems like the right time,” said Effie. “We live in a time of war and exile and it needs to be talked about, not just as it has been through history by men but by women too. Most of the work is about being progressive. I’ve yet to see a text in the scores we have received that’s looking to preserve the status quo. After lots of provocation women are becoming more and more fearless and are becoming what they want to be. This government is giving us an awful lot of headaches and, living up here in Scotland, we are still wondering how it happened.”

Effie has a panel of readers, including academics and theatre professionals, but has read at least part of every script herself. She said: “it’s so personal to me that I would never have allowed myself not to have personal knowledge of all the scripts. Given that we made the announcement in early November, and we gave writers a deadline of January 15 – a very short time – we have had some shockingly good work. Some are from very young women and two or three are from quite well-known names. I’m looking for a evolutionary aesthetic in female authored drama and we’re well on our way. In a year or two I’m sure we’re going to get a masterpiece – maybe it’s even one of these plays set to be showcased in Greenwich.”

Female Arts
Editor-In-Chief, Wendy Thomson, said: “We’ve been championing women in the performing arts for five years this spring so we’re delighted to work with Effie Samara – our Edinburgh Editor – on her vision for an award for emerging female playwrights. It’s so important to improve visibility and recognition of female voices in all our diversity, which is why I founded Female Arts magazine to promote gender equality in the arts. The Female Arts team are fully behind RED Women’s Theatre awards, including Amie Taylor and Kate Saffin who are directing. It’s fantastic to have the first regional showcase of the awards at Greenwich Theatre who do so much to support female theatre makers.”

Artistic and Executive director James Haddrell said: “Women are not only outnumbered by men by two to one among British playwrights, they are not often writing this kind of work, not because of a lack of desire but because of such a low expectation of having their work produced. Submissions could have a historic or modern setting, could respond to particular real events or be entirely fictitious, could be about local, national or international politics, as long as they responded to the call to action issued by RED. As part of the panel I read the fourteen plays on the long-list and was struck not only by the quality but by the sheer diversity of approach. After an incredibly difficult series of discussions, we are all incredibly proud of the four shortlisted plays, and the evening of play-readings on March 6 is set to be an exciting event.”

The four plays are GONE by Kate Webster; UNDER MY THUMB by Cassiah Joski-Jethi; DISSONANCE by Paper Cage Theatre and SPURN THE DUST by Sian Rowland.

RED Women’s Theatre Awards
@redwomentheatre www.facebook.com/redwomentheatre
Presented by: Effie Samara, Greenwich Theatre and Female Arts
Sunday, March 6, from 6.30pm. Tickets £7 (including £1 booking fee)
Box Office 020 8858 7755 www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk

For full details visit www.redwomenstheatreawards.com or www.femalearts.com.

Posted in Awards, female playwrights, feminism, gender equality, Launch event, new work, plays by female writers, Plays for today by women, playwriting competitions, prizes and awards | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Susan Smith Blackburn Prize to be announced tonight

“The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is an extraordinary award and a vital part of the theatrical landscape in both the UK and the US. It has been at the vanguard of the movement to promote female playwrights and theatre makers for over thirty years. We need this award now, more than ever and I’m extremely proud, as a Trustee of the Prize to be welcoming the 2016 award ceremony to the National Theatre.”

Deputy National Theatre Artistic Director Ben Power

This year’s Susan Smith Blackburn Prize will be awarded tonight at The National Theatre,  the first time the Presentation Ceremony has taken place at there.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $25,000 (£17,320), and will also receive a signed print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Each of the additional finalists will receive an award of $5,000 (£3,460).

Many of the winners have gone on to receive other honours, including Olivier, Evening Standard and Tony Awards for Best Play. Eight Susan Smith Blackburn finalist plays have subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. The 2013-2014 Winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Chimerica by Lucy Kirkwood also won the Olivier Award for Best New Play and the Evening Standard Award for Best Play. Subsequent to winning the 2012-2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Flick, Annie Baker was honoured with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Steinberg Playwright Award as well as with the Horton Foote Legacy Project. Baker’s The Flick comes to the National Theatre in April this year.

Other recipients of the Prize include Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, Nell Dunn’s Steaming, Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, Katori Hall’s Hurt Village, Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behzti (Dishonour), Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman, Julia Cho’s The Language Archive, Gina Gionfriddo’s U.S. Drag, Bridget Carpenter’s Fall, Charlotte Jones’ Humble Boy, and Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare.

Chosen from over 150 plays nominated by theatres, the finalists are:

Sarah Burgess (U.S.) – Dry Powder
Rachel Cusk (U.K.) – a new version of Medea by Euripides
Sarah DeLappe (U.S.) – The Wolves
Sam Holcroft (U.K.) – Rules for Living
Anna Jordan (U.K.) – Yen
Dominique Morisseau (U.S.) – Skeleton Crew
Lynn Nottage (U.S.) – Sweat
Suzan-Lori Parks (U.S.) – Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1,2 & 3)
Bea Roberts (U.K) – And Then Come The Nightjars
Noni Stapleton (Ireland) – Charolais

UPDATE: And the winner was… Lynn Nottage for Sweat.

Posted in female playwrights, prizes and awards, Women playwrights, women writers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Yen – review

In 2013, Yen won the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and premiered at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre before transferring to the Royal Court.

Yen is fierce and disturbing. Anna Jordan is the kind of writer who climbs right inside her characters’ heads, roots around for all their darkness and spits it out onto the page with humanity and humour.

I first came across Anna Jordan in the launch issue of Bare Fiction Magazine. Her short play Closer to God was so affecting and beautifully written, I immediately declared her the next big thing. I wish I’d put money on it; within weeks, she’d won the Bruntwood Prize – one of the most coveted awards in the world of playwriting.

Yen is the story of two teenage brothers and their dog. Wearing jeans and sharing a t-shirt, we watch them struggle against the tough life they lead. The story takes place almost exclusively in one room with a sofa bed, a TV, games console and an electric fire. This claustrophobic setting is cunningly fractured by the soundscape, banks of imposing lights, ropes and scaffolding which work together to give a vast kind of energy to the action. The play crackles along, rubbing on your nerves and turning your stomach. In a good way.

Yen is a massive tale of love and redemption told in ordinary, heart-breaking details. If you can fight someone to get their ticket, then I suggest you do. (Or if you don’t like fighting, a returns queue runs from 1 hour before the performance.)

Yen is at the Royal Court till 13 February. More info.

© Sarah Hehir 2016. 

Posted in plays by female writers, Review, Women playwrights, women writers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Vote for 17Percent in the Galaxy Chocolate Fund

We have submitted an entry to the Galaxy Hot Chocolate Fund. If chosen, we’ll spend the £300 prize money on buying a PA and lights to help get our She Writes showcases running again.

Please vote for us!

 

Posted in 17 percent campaign | Tagged | Leave a comment

Clickbait – review

Clickbait is a play by Milly Thomas, a compelling and powerful play about women and the sex industry, still very much a taboo subject as there are so many facets to the porn industry that are not challenged and simply not spoken about; as it is still seen as a male dominated industry.

Clickbait is being shown at Theatre503 in London, and as I entered l was greeted by nice comfy seats and fairy lights – my idea of heaven. The theatre is a good size with rows of seats and a relatively large stage, the first scene was set in a bedroom in the sisters’ house, a double mattress on the floor, as the play progressed after the interval, the bed had gone and there was an office and narration from actors in animal masks, there was also audio, which gave the play a nice touch.

It is a play that does not hold back, it tells you the story of three young sisters, and their own individual journeys and their respective relationships with one another; a story which also tests their commitments to each other. It is a play about education, control and lack of control; it shows the faults when things go wrong and how they stumble over dealing with complaints, eg, when a customer didn’t want her video to go online.

It is a story about porn and the internet, how porn has changed over the years from asking for the sex mags on the top shelf of a newsagents to engaging with sex immediately online, and the new challenges that brings.

We have the three central characters Nicola Baker (Georgia Groome), the middle sister, Gina the eldest (Amy Dunn), and Chloe (Alice Hewkins), the youngest who is still at school. Nicola is in a relationship with Adam, and she learns that she is going to be a victim of revenge porn, filmed at an end of holiday party. Nicola’s loyal and loving boyfriend Adam has no idea about her recent encounters.

As a result of the potential footage about to be posted online, she posts it herself, and hence Protest is born, a business idea that all the sisters and even Adam are involved in, working legitimately within the porn industry setting up their own company and business. Protest is about sex, it is a home movie booth, that has no links to prostitution; a service to make sex fun without the strings or emotional attachments.

It is a way to eventually make revenge porn a redundant concept, (in the right direction in any event as it is now a criminal offence). Protest allows for participants to post their videos, they sign an agreement saying all parties are happy and videos can be posted online without it being a statement of revenge.

The booths are for fun, for having sex, and making it fun and not a boring chore; it is about both sexes having fun with sex. There is a line in the play that simply says ‘my name is Nicola Barker and I am a feminist’.  That line sums Clickbait up very well, as Nicola has started Protest to stop herself and others feeling ashamed about sex.

With Protest the person who attends the booth and engages with the sexual activities is liberated, they are in control not the other way round from an angry partner, or rival.

Adam is a fairly weak partner, he loved Nicola and could not face up to her reality, although he stood by her in her business plans, it was a complete role reversal for him; where the women were strong and liked the business of the porn industry.  The youngest sister Chloe was gung-ho and stepped outside a safe domain, where she was a child and wanted to become more involved than the adults. This brings its own dangers from the child sex industries and the risks to vulnerable children.

The sign reads in their business premises ‘no judgment’: this is a powerful sign, the words have many different meanings, no judgment of me, of others, how can people judge how do they have the right to judge?

This in many ways is the context of the play, women are judged every day, hence why Nicola mentioned she was a feminist, why would she have to say that if she wasn’t being judged.

Clickbait is a play that liberates, it is fun and serious it doesn’t hold back. It is a raw journey through the sex industries, and is a very enjoyable play, well acted and well written, I would suggest you go and see it

Clickbait is being shown from the 22nd January 2016 to the 17th Feb 2016 at Theatre503, Battersea London.

© Sam Rapp, 2016

Posted in female director, female playwrights, plays by female writers, Plays for today by women, Review, Uncategorized, Women playwrights, women writers | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Milly Thomas and Clickbait

CB Holding Image © Jack Sain 2015

(c) Jack Sain

Clickbait is a new play about society’s attitude to porn and the women who make it for themselves. From the  all female writer/director team behind A First World Problem (Milly Thomas and Holly Race Roughan) comes this blistering study of how pornography is changing women’s relationship to sex in the 21st Century.

The play follows Nicola who, threatened with the release of an amateur sex video, makes a snap decision to post it online herself. What began as a drunken night in a dirty club ends with a unique business opportunity for Nicola and her two sisters as they start a network of amateur porn video booths. But where there is demand there must be supply and, as lines become blurred, public opinion begins to turn against the trio. It opens at Theatre5o3 on 19 January.

In advance of the play’s opening, Sam Rapp asked writer Milly Thomas to tell more about herself and the play.

SR: This is a play about women and porn. What were the inspirations to write about this particular subject matter? 

MT: The inspiration originally came from a news article I read concerning a woman who had performed a sex act on holiday. I remember being so shocked by the vitriol that came her way and then it became less about that particular news article but more about thinking about our attitudes to women and sex and the bigger questions for victims of revenge porn. ‘What do you do. How do you get on with your life? Where do you go?’ It also got me thinking about how revenge pornography is blurring the line between sex and pornography and how women fit in that particular mire of sexual politics. It also took me off on a journey of exploring what it might be like to attempt to capitalise on the porn market – the idea that one way of consolidating the thing that had happened to you might be to lean into it and see where it leads you.

SR:  Did you have any concerns about writing about women and porn as it can be a challenging subject matter?

MT: I honestly haven’t been concerned only because I feel the subject matter is hugely important. Pornography certainly can be challenging for some people, but the fact is that it’s mainstream now. Pornography is everywhere. From sexualised marketing campaigns right down to the music we listen to. And nine times out of ten it’s women who are being objectified by it. I just want to get a dialogue going. I’m not here to condemn porn just as I am not here to promote it either and my characters’ voices reflect this. I don’t have any answers or a mission statement, I’d just love to know what other people’s responses are.

SR: Did you have any hostility regarding the subject matter?

MT: None whatsoever, which is hugely encouraging.

SR: Are you looking forward to the press night?

MT: Very much so. I promised my mum I’d wear smart shoes.

SR: Are you confident the play will be well received?

MT: I’m excited to know what people make of it. I just want to make people think. One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever been given was ‘If you make art and the whole world loves it, you’re doing it wrong.’ This shouldn’t be interpreted as going out to deliberately provoke. I see it as sticking to your gut and standing proudly by your work.

SR: How did you envisage the way in which the characters evolve, and has there been any changes, while the rehearsal room, to how you originally perceived your characters to be played?

MT: The wonderful thing about scriptwriting in any format is that once you hand it over to a room full of actors it’s like Frankenstein’s monster and a switch is flipped and the script comes to life. It’s one of my favourite bits of the process because you can be surprised, delighted and challenged – often all at the same time. Clickbait has been no different, which delights me as then it becomes something more than some text I wrote down.

SR: How long did it take to write this play? 

MT: I had the idea almost a year ago and scribbled it down in a first draft. It’s been on a huge journey since then.

SR: Have you always wanted to be a writer, how did you start?

MT: I work full time as an actor/writer. Until a few years ago only ever wanted to act. I went to drama school and graduated a year and a half ago. It was only while I was there, when it became my 9 to 5, that I realised that I needed more than being an actor. I love telling stories. Being an actor you get to tell stories for a living, but being a writer you get to create your own. British playwrighting is in such an explosive place and I wanted to add my voice. So I wrote a handful of short plays and entered them into competitions and won some, which encouraged me to keep going. I then wrote my first full-length play called A First World Problem which was picked up by Theatre503 the summer I graduated. It taught me a lot and, more importantly, I had a lot of fun. So much fun that I’m back with the same creative team two years later which is really exciting.

SR: How and when do you write? 

MT: I try to keep to office hours as much as possible, especially when I’m not acting. Against my better judgement, I do work quote well in the wee hours, but you can’t work at all without sleep. I try and write every day. Sometime I need to go for a walk and put some headphones in and think about what it is I need to say. Sometimes it tumbles out before I know it’s there. Every play is different.

SR: Are you working on anything else at the moment?

MT: I’m currently writing an episode of a new BBC3 series that will air in 2017, which is a totally different process but just as thrilling. I also start the Channel 4 Screenwriting course this year which I’m very much looking forward to.

As for theatre, I have some ideas that I’m sketching out right now in the back of my head. Soon enough one of them will shout louder than all the others and the process will start all over again.

ClickBait can be seen at Theatre503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW from Tuesday 19 January – Saturday 13 February 2016 (Tuesday to Saturday, 7.45pm, Sunday, 5pm)

Posted in plays by female writers, Plays for today by women, plays to see, q + a | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Multi-sensory, accessible Christmas in Bath

'The Snow Child' by Owen Benson Visuals

‘The Snow Child’ by Owen Benson Visuals

Based on the Russian Fairy Tale, The Snow Maiden, Bath-based Butterfly Psyche’s new and original show is a multi-sensory, interactive family-friendly production that explores love and what it means to be a family.

Suitable for all ages, Butterfly Psyche promises to bring a special kind of magic this Christmas with The Snow Child. The show has been created with the help of Include Arts to make the mainstream performances as accessible as possible, as well as providing Assisted Performances and Accessible resources for theatre-goers with complex needs.

Created by one of the South West’s most exciting companies Butterfly Psyche Theatre’s The Snow Child is the eagerly-awaited follow up on their run-away success from 2013, The Bluebird (“one of the most thought provoking, visually stunning festive shows in recent years” 5 Stars, What’s On Stage.) This brand new adaptation of the classic Russian fairy-tale promises to be equally magical.

Writer/Director and Artistic Director of Butterfly Psyche Theatre Alison Farina says:

“This show has something for everyone. We’ve got snow, we’ve got polar bears, we’ve got fast-paced comedy and we’ve got some of the area’s most talented actors – but most importantly, we’ve got a story with a lot of heart. We also wanted to make this show as accessible as possible for everyone. It’s so important to us that our work is welcoming and relevant. With this approach, we hope to inspire other small independent theatre companies to work in this way, too. So whether you’ve got kids or not, this will be more than just your average ‘Christmas show’. Join us for a Theatre for All experience that you’ll remember for years to come.”

All performances will feature Keyword Signing for additional communication support, and will be followed by a 20-minute ‘Stay and play’ session, as well as a number of Assisted Performances including:

* Relaxed Performances – These performances are perfect for fidgeters, whisperers and all those who find sitting still a challenge. With the set and lighting designed to support those on the autistic spectrum, there will be nothing too bright, too dark or overstimulating. But if things do get too much, the auditorium doors will remain open and there will be a ‘Soft Space’ to retreat to.

* British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted performances – these are for anyone who uses BSL, their friends, family and everybody!

* Big Scream performance for families with very small children – and tickets for this performance will operate a ‘Babes in Arms’ policy, so a child of 18 months or younger doesn’t need a ticket providing they can be held by a grown-up.

* Visual stories are available on request to help audience members prepare for their visit. You can email the company to receive them either electronically or by post. Copies will also be available to pick up at The Rondo Box Office in the run-up to the show.

* Touch tours (an opportunity to explore the set and props before the show) for anyone with visual impairments are available as well as BSL tours prior to the BSL Interpreted performances. Large Print programmes/Visual Stories will also be available. Please email the company directly with your requirements.

* Available for the 4pm show on December 18th (the last Friday before Christmas) there is also a special Children’s Christmas Packed Tea (dietary options available via box office booking page).

The Snow Child runs at The Rondo Theatre, Bath from 9-20 December 2015.

More booking info.

 

Posted in Christmas shows, plays by female writers, plays to see, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Review: wish I was… by Laura Wyatt O’Keefe at Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre

At times during certain pieces of theatre or live art there are notable moments where a word or sound seems to reverberate, not only within the walls of the auditorium, but simultaneously through the interiors of  body and mind. In wish I was…, written and performed by Laura Wyatt O’Keefe, a London-based theatre artist originally from Cork, this momentary effect is extended in to an hour-long piece. The play tells the story of Aisling, a twenty-two year old who, after a chance encounter on a night out at home that leaves her reeling, departs on a plane ‘going anywhere’ – to look for herself on the other side of the world. More than a straightforward travelogue, however, O’Keefe guides us on a journey, based on her own experience crossing from Ireland to Thailand and Australia, bringing our attention to points of difference along the way, traversing countries and borders. She threads amusing anecdotes (particularly of the Irish experience abroad) with a muddier search for identity and meaning, asking what it means to be a young woman – how this is challenged by society and whether this changes when we are uprooted in an unknown land. Are we all just navigating our own paths, and what are we bearing witness to in the process?

Waiting to enter the Council Chamber Room in Hornsey Town Hall, it felt as if we, the audience, were a hushed jury waiting to be led into a trial. The venue has been converted into a multi-purpose arts centre hosting IMPFEST – The Impermanent Festival of Contemporary Performance, and its chambers lend a sense of gravitas to the transporting mix of words and sounds that comprise wish I was… To listen to this piece is to become, like the performer’s persona Aisling, lost on a journey that begins to take its own direction. Intentionally leaving behind her luggage and possessions, but subsequently being left without her formal means identification too, in the familiar unfamiliar surroundings of her Thailand hostel, she has to trace her own lines from one place to the next.

The important element of storytelling, for O’Keefe, is what shape the narrative takes, and, in turn, how that shape allows the audience ‘to feel the story in the right form’. In wish I was… the shape of Aisling’s journey draws on the notion of the Dreaming – the passing down of knowledge and spiritual law through stories that map songlines in Aboriginal Australian oral history. Another essential part of her role as performer asks the question: ‘Why are we here, and what are we here for?’ In other words, how has this collective group of individuals, each following their own story or songlines, arrived together in this place? Through this democratic approach to theatre-making, O’Keefe applies a personable style, engendering familiarity over fear, and values the audience’s presence as a necessity to the performer’s existence; her wish is to make them feel desired, to know that they are of equal importance in the space.

Photo (c):Tabitha Goble

Photo (c): Tabitha Goble

While wish I was… is O’Keefe’s first solo production, which she began writing several years ago and produced in Ireland as part of SHOW festival in 2013, and performed at Collaborations festival in Dublin earlier this year. This is indeed a collaborative piece too, with a score by Shane O’Sullivan that intervenes at various points in the narrative. Its layered rhythms respond to the changing tempo of Aisling’s fractured account, as she traces her own songline through a landscape of sounds. Directed by Judi Chalmers, she recites her journey at an often frantic pace, embodying the language of her own associative word-play through sharp, quirky movements, as Aisling tries to relocate her sense of self. She is followed, however, by the identity and story of another woman, and the loss of a ‘you’ that proves monumental. O’Keefe delves towards the complex boundaries that are placed on female experience, something she has explored in previous work, most recently Brief last year, which questioned the drastic lengths women in Ireland have had to go to in need of an abortion. In this way her work responds to contemporary issues but remains focused on the narrative of the individual – even if that individual begins to divide in to a multitude.

(c) Joanna Lally, 2015

Find out more about IMPFEST here: http://impfest.tumblr.com/About

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preview: My Mind is Free by Sam Hall

My Mind is Free imageAs regular visitors to this website will know, 17Percent’s founder, Sam Hall, has been working on a play about human trafficking, which tours in October 2015. The play has been cast and rehearsals are about to begin. 

The main aim of the play is to raise awareness for World Anti-Slavery Day (18 October 2015). There are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world, with approximately 13,000 in the UK. Modern day slavery victims include: women forced into prostitution, imprisoned domestic staff, and workers in fields, factories, building sites and fishing boats.

Jude Spooner, founder of London-based Rah Rah Theatre Company, commissioned playwright Sam to tell stories of human trafficking in a play, which tours venues in London and the Southeast this October, supported by Arts Council England.

Jude and Sam were inspired to team up on the play to raise awareness of this injustice in the UK. Sam was first inspired to start researching human trafficking after being approached by Merton Against Trafficking to write some stories for a fundraising event in 2014. Jude is part of New Malden Abolition group, a group set up to help the charity Hope For Justice  which exists to put a stop to human trafficking and slavery in our generation, so has an interest in the topic. Her goal is to share her knowledge about this modern day crime and to create an artistic response to this, which will both provoke and disturb in equal measures.

My Mind is Free will tell the stories of some of the people who have fallen into what can only be described as modern day slavery and the play is inspired by true life stories from victims, which have then been fictionalised.

Where possible, each performance will also have a speaker from an anti-trafficking charity so the audience can find out more about what to do if they think somebody is being trafficked near them.

Full list of venues: (for more info and to book visit the website).
Thursday 1 October 2015 7.30pm:  Margate House, Margate, Kent
Friday 2 October 2015 7.30pm: The Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable, Kent
Saturday 3 October 2015 7.30pm: Haslemere Abolition Group, Haslemere, Surrey
Sunday 4 October 2015 3pm: Wimbledon BookFest, London
Monday 5 October 2015 – 7.30pm: Strood Baptist Church, Strood, Kent
Tuesday 6 October 2015: King’s College London, Strand Campus, Ground floor, London
Wednesday 7 October 2015 7.30pm: Colour House Theatre, London
Thursday 8 October 2015 8pm: St Catherine’s Neighbourhood Centre, Reading
Friday 9 October 8pm: Balham Baptist Church, London
Saturday 10 October 2015 7.30pm: New Malden Baptist Church, London
Sunday 11 October 2015, 7pm (starts 7.30pm): Rochester Literature Festival 2015, Kent
Monday 12 October 2015: Resource for London, Holloway Road, London
Tuesday 13 October 2015: Katherine Low settlement, Battersea, London
Wednesday 14 October 2015 7.30pm: The Library, Willesden, London
Thursday 15 October 2015: KAHAILA, Brick Lane, London.
Friday 16 October 2015: Fairfield Halls, Croydon

Posted in 17percenters, female director, female playwrights | Tagged , | 1 Comment