Dance/theatre show tackles domestic abuse head on
Inventive, accessible, empowering performance highlights human resilience
Meet Beverley. You’re invited to her party. Like most parties there’ll be fun and games, drinks, shared conversations and energetic dancing. But at Beverley’s party there will also be genuine heartbreaking moments as Beverley bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.
Smack That (a conversation) is the new show from endlessly inventive choreographer Rhiannon Faith. It shines a light on the complex subject of domestic abuse and features an all female cast of seven, including non-performers with personal experience of abuse alongside experienced dance artists. As part of a short preview tour it comes to Cambridge Junction on 24 October before embarking on a full UK tour in 2018 and a week-long run at London’s Barbican Centre.
Throughout Smack That (a conversation) each cast member takes on the persona of Beverly to convey the turbulent, real life experiences of domestic abuse she, and they, have endured and survived. Their stories intertwine with party games and energetic dance routines to create a powerful and moving piece of theatre. These are voices that need to be heard and the theatre setting creates a safe space in which these women can come together to watch out for, and care for, each other.
Rhiannon said “The idea for the show has been with me for years from seeing the experiences and hearing the stories from friends and family and others who felt OK talking privately but lacked the confidence to talk publically about what they had been (or still were) going through”.
‘A bold and brave performance, searingly honest and genuinely moving.’ Evening Standard (on Scary Shit)
Crucially, Smack That (a conversation) is based on authentic stories told through the voices of victims of domestic violence and abuse. By presenting these issues in this way performance can raise awareness around domestic abuse and move the conversations from private to public.
“The creative process required a great deal of vulnerability and trust’ added Rhiannon ‘I knew that before I could create this show I had to be totally sure that we would be able provide proper care and support for my Bev’s”.
In researching the show Rhiannon Faith worked with a support group at Safer Places, an independent charity that provides services to adults and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse. Using this research Smack That (a conversation) seeks to raise social consciousness about domestic abuse by supporting women and encouraging them to talk openly about their experiences.
As part of the legacy of Smack That, all venues that the tour visits will be encouraged to become J9 contacts. J9 is a new national initiative providing contact points to help victims of domestic abuse around the country. Where the J9 logo is displayed in premises open to the public it alerts victims that they can obtain information which will help them to access a safe place where there can seek information and the use of a telephone.
Smack That (a conversation) was commissioned by Harlow Playhouse and is supported by Arts Council England, Essex County Council, DanceEast, Rich Mix, Arts Depot and developed through the Open Lab at Barbican/Guildhall.
Rhiannon Faith the company make autobiographical shows exposing the sweet, fragile and devastating aspects of human relationships. Previous work includes ‘The Date’ which had its London premier at BAC in 2015 and ‘Scary Shit’ which received 5 star reviews in a run at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe. Both subsequently toured extensively to critical and audience acclaim. Rhiannon Faith the individual is a fast-rising choreographer, artist and theatre maker.
Age 18+ The show raises themes of an adult nature, sexual violence and domestic abuse. Runs 80 minutes (no interval)
Smack That (a conversation)
Inventive and accessible dance/theatre exploration of domestic abuse from Rhiannon Faith featuring an all female cast of seven mixing non-performers with personal experience of abuse alongside experienced dance artists.
24 Oct, 7.30pm
£12.50 (£8 concessions)
Clifton Way CB1 7GX
01223 511511 www.junction.co.uk