Young women talk about abortion in their own words in a new verbatim theatre production from award-winning theatre companies Contact and 20 Stories High. The new play I told my Mum I was going on an R. E. trip… by Julia Samuels will premiere at Contact in February 2017 before embarking on a UK tour.
‘So I told my mum I was going on an RE trip and I needed to be at Piccadilly Bus Station for seven o’clock in the morning, in order to get to the clinic by half past eight…’
Bringing together a diverse set of voices, the play will reflect the authentic experiences of a host of different people, from young women who have had abortions, young parents, sexual health clinicians and educators, to campaigners and religious leaders. The writer and director, Julia Samuels has drawn from over 50 interviews that she has conducted over the last two years.
Why can we debate abortion as an idea but not talk about it as an experience? Exploring young people’s ideas and perspectives, this collaboration will challenge assumptions about something 1 in 3 UK women will experience in their lifetimes, in a provocative, warm and engaging show.
‘If it’s a day before 24 weeks, it’s an hour before 24 weeks, can you still do it? Or do they assess you and see how the baby’s doing, and then be like ‘well actually, you know, it’s a baby so we can’t actually …’
Julia Samuels is Co-Artistic Director of 20 Stories High. Founded in 2006, 20 Stories High has established itself as one of the leading young people’s theatre companies nationally, and has won a series of prestigious awards and commissions. 20 Stories High tours to theatre venues and community spaces and runs a range of participatory projects.
Contact is the leading national contemporary arts organisation placing young people’s decision making at the heart of everything. Contact commissions and produces up to 10 new shows each year for national touring with a focus on pressing social realities. Recent shows include No Guts, No Heart, No Glory (Common Wealth), Rites (with National Theatre Scotland) and The Spalding Suite (with Southbank Centre and FUEL).
On the collaboration, Matt Fenton, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Contact, said:
‘It's really fantastic to be working again with 20 Stories High on this important co-production. Both our companies create risk-taking new work that responds to pressing social realities for young people, working with researchers, social workers and young people directly affected by the issues. Our aim is always to get these shows, and the discussions and debates they create to new or non-traditional theatre audiences who may feel their voices are not often authentically represented on stage.’
Julia Samuels added:
‘I’m so pleased to be able to give these women’s voices a platform to challenge the stigma around abortion. I hope that audiences find the play uplifting and life-affirming which is what all our work strives to be.’
I told my Mum I was going on an R. E. trip… is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.