What a week! After our sell out opening night at Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre on Thursday 29th September, we had another full house on Friday. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with audiences describing the performance as:
Refreshing. Real. Honest. Lasting. Heart-breaking. Brave. Funny. Different. Deep. Wise. Thoughtful. Educational. Creative. Inspiring. Impactful. Helpful. Sincere. Meaningful. Amazing. Gripping. Relatable. Interesting. Enjoyable.
A huge thank you must go to our creative team including Christina Berriman Dawson, Rosie Stancliffe and Ellie North who have taken to the stage to share these powerful stories and to Rachel Adamson (Writer/Director) Edward Cole (Co-Director/Mentor) Alys North (Choreographer) & Rupert Philbrick (Soundscape & Tech) who have helped to shape this outstanding production alongside Pollyanna Turner (Project Manager/Visual Artist) and Lisa Davis (Company Director).
We have had an incredible review from Peter Lathan at The British Theatre Guide who came to our opening show, and cannot wait to share the work with more of you this week and next. Book your tickets for The Witham for Wednesday 5th October , Darlington Dolphin Centre on Thursday 6th October, Stanley Civic Hall on Thursday 13th October & Bishop Auckland Town Hall on Friday 14th October
The whole team has been busy rehearsing for our Northeast tour, getting ready for our opening night on Thursday 29th September at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle and running until October 14th across a range of arts venues with a compelling performance from Christina Berriman Dawson, Rosie Stancliffe and Ellie North.
We’d like to thank The Witham in Barnard Castle for letting us use their space last weekend, we all especially liked the delicious food served up in their café and we are also grateful to Space Six in Newcastle for letting us take us take over studio one.
Polly Turner (Project Manager and Set Designer) has been busy getting creative and crafting with the women from Be Creative in Stanley to bring the stage to life and Soundscape artist Rupert Philbrick has blown us all away with his electrifying harmonies that have brought us all to tears.
A special thank you to Edward Cole of Middle Child Theatre in Hull and Northeast based Choreographer Alys North who have been working their professional socks off alongside our wonderful Writer /Director Rachel Adamson to enhance the theatrical aspects of our powerful and heartfelt performance.
We are delighted to be able to announce the dates for our 2016 Tour. Tickets are already on sale and details can be found via our website – check out the menu ‘Tour Schedule 2016’
After two successful pilot performances of our work in progress last year, we are excited to be in the process of developing and enhancing our production of Make do and Mend, ready for touring this September and October.
We are proud to welcome Ed Cole from experienced cultural producer Middle Child Theatre based in Hull and Alys North an exceptionally talented young performer and choreographer based in Newcastle, who have been working alongside Rachel Adamson (Writer/Director) to bring our real women’s stories to life on the stage. We also wish to welcome Rosie Stancliffe who will be joining the cast to take on the role of Lorna.
This work has already been highly received on both a local and international platform, and is supported by funding from Arts Council England, Awards for All and the Community Health Revenue Fund and Phillis Spearman Grassroots Fund via the County Durham Community Foundation fund, all of whom we wish to show are gratitude.
Thank you to all who participated in this week’s visit to European Parliament as part of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) FEMM Committee launch for Elimination of Violence Against Women & Girls 16 days of action.
Myself and Lisa at Changing Relations have been working towards this event organised by Julie Ward MEP and the FEMM committee for almost an entire year and following the success of our UK preview last Saturday (14th Nov) this week, we took the play ‘Make do and Mend’ produced by The Women’s Voices project and presented live performance theatre in European Parliament.
Alongside a plethora or work ad project manager I have been working with many survivors of Domestic abuse who have highlighted the need and want for their voices to be shared and listened to. Changing Relations aim is to be able to use the women’s voices project as a platform for changing attitudes that stereotypically veer towards asking DA victims questions such as ‘why didn’t you leave’ to ‘how can I help you’. Our play presents the stories of three real life women told through the raw medium of verbatim theatre (Written and directed by Rachel Adamson.
Our aim is to empower people to recognise what Domestic Abuse really is; not always physical & or sexual violence, in line with forthcoming new law, that will recognise and criminalize patterns of coercive, controlling and psychologically abusive behavior, including emotional, psychological, financial as well as the threat of physical or sexual violence. Both our audiences in the UK and Brussels unanimously told us that it reflected a true representation of Domestic Abuse, that it was helpful to have seen the performance and that they would recommend it to others.
While I have been overwhelmed by the experiences shared by women I have met through refuges and grassroots organisations , it is the many women (and men) who have approached me outside of the project that I have felt handed me a responsibility to use this project to take action. Domestic Abuse is not a woman’s problem, it is societies. We all need to take responsibility in educating ourselves and others on what safe and healthy relationships look like, what Domestic abuse is and how to seek or get help when we recognise that it is happening.
My job is now to fine tune an application for additional funding to support a tour of ‘Make do and Mend’ aiming to start next Spring (2016) starting in the North East. I hope that you will continue to follow our progress and share our successes so far.
Thankyou , Pollyanna Turner –Project Manager
What a performance. Saturday 14th November saw the realisation of our new production ‘Make do and Mend’ in a preview performance to invited guests at Space Six, in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
After only 9 full days of rehearsal over a two month period, Rachel Adamson (writer/director) and our three performers;Christina Berriman Dawson, Jessica Johnson and Ellie Clarke wowed the audience with their raw and open delivery of a newly devised piece of verbatim theatre titled Make do and Mend.
Right now we are packing up ready to travel to Brussels tomorrow with the cast and Women’s Voices Project team to present our performance Make do and Mend in European Parliament by invite from the FEMM committee and funded by the Socialist and Democratic group. Our performance is part of a wider event held in European parliament on the eve of the International day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.
‘Make do and Mend’ is a piece of verbatim theatre portraying the candid stories of three real women brought together to by a love of knitting and invites an audience into their lives to share their different but equally compelling journeys though Domestic Abuse, reflecting on childhood, motherhood and marriage.
The Women’s Voices Project has been working with individuals and organisations for the past 8 months, delivering arts for well being workshops and collecting testimonies from real women across the County Durham and wider north east area, giving a voice to women who have experienced Domestic Abuse. Make do and Mend is the opening chapter in what we hope will be continuing project, expected to tour next Spring 2016.
Thank you to all those who attended on Saturday evening, your comments and feedback are extremely valuable in helping us find a platform to share our work more widely.
Thank you to all who participated in and contributed to our creative workshops this summer. Your willingness to share with us your true experiences of Domestic Abuse has enabled us to continue our project and develop a new production to share your stories.
‘Make do and Mend’ is a piece of verbatim theatre portraying the candid stories of three women brought together to by a love of knitting and invites an audience into their lives and bodies to reflect on their different but equally compelling journeys though childhood, motherhood and marriage.
Their experiences of Domestic Violence call attention to the complex patterns of emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse that can be experienced and emphasise just how important the new domestic laws coming into force later this year are in recognising emotional abuse.
The government will now criminalise the patterns of coercive, controlling, and psychologically abusive behaviour which lie at the heart of the abuse so many women experience; leading to feelings of helplessness, isolation and can restrict a person’s personal and financial freedom .
In an interview for BBC’s Newsbeat last year Polly Neat, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “We hope this new law will lead to a real culture change, so that every woman experiencing control can get the support she needs to break free safely.” Our Women’s Voices Project team will be travelling to Brussels this November to perform our new piece ‘Make Do and Mend’ in European Parliament on the eve of The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
We hope to be able to continue to raise awareness and contribute to making positive changes within communities, health care professional and the social sector with a tour of ‘Make do and Mend’ next year.