The following is from this week’s Youth Voice column. It is written by Grace Spencer, a student at Stroud High School.
A quarter of women in the UK experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.
Despite cutting across boundaries of age, ethnicity and social background, the issue often seems to be overlooked.
But Rock And A Hard Place, a new play researched, written and performed by Journeymen Theatre, is aiming to tackle this difficult topic.
As Lynn Morris, co-director of Journeymen Theatre describes, theirs is a ‘theatre of witness’, working in ‘both a privileged and a responsible position’ to confront an issue shrouded in shame and secrecy.
Having previously addressed themes such as refugees and state-sanctioned torture, the theatre company says that their work is produced ‘to make as much impact as possible’.
Morris identifies two chief aims for the project – firstly, building awareness of the signs of domestic abuse and ways of supporting victims, and secondly, bringing attention to financial cuts which have impacted so negatively on the support available.
Commissioned by Gloucestershire Quakers, Journeymen Theatre has spent eight months developing the project. Morris describes the process as in-depth and emotional – ‘women’s stories of domestic abuse, sad to say, came thick and fast as soon as people knew of the project’.
Wide-ranging research has included speaking to teachers, police, MPs and the manager of the Stroud Women’s Refuge.
According to Liz Willis from Gloucestershire Quakers, this has resulted in a play which is ‘hard-hitting and uncompromising, but also enjoyable’.
Journeymen Theatre will donate all profits to Stroud Women’s Refuge, which is, shockingly, the only one remaining in Gloucestershire. Suitable for age 17+, there are three performances and tickets cost £7.50/£5.00, free for students.
February 28, 7.30pm, Sub Rooms, Stroud. Tickets: subscriptionrooms.org.uk or 01453 760900. March 3, 4pm, Chantry Centre, Dursley. Tickets: eventbrite.co.uk or Inches in Dursley. March 8 (International Women’s Day), 7.30pm, Sundial Theatre, Cirencester. Tickets: sundial-theatre.co.uk.