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"I told my Mum I was going on an R.E. Trip", our co-production with 20 Stories High which explores real experiences of abortion is due to be broadcast on BBC Two on 20 January as part of BBC Performance Live.

Following success on stage at Contact and on tour, the Contact and 20 Stories High co-production “I told my mum I was going on an R.E. trip…” will be broadcast on BBC Two on 20th January at 11.15pm as part of the Performance Live strand of programmes. It will then be available on BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days.

“I told my Mum I was going on an R.E. trip…” is a frank drama told through the voices of four young female performers, based on interview material gathered from over 50 different people; including young women who have had abortions, young parents, health professionals and campaigners. These stories are interwoven with song and spoken word to portray the real experiences of these women.

The show deals with challenging themes but filmed on the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in Britain, writer Julia Samuels explores the way in which society treats this subject and how this impacts on women today. And importantly asks what would happen if we started to talk openly about it?

This TV production for Performance Live (a partnership between BBC Arts, Arts Council England and Battersea Arts Centre) uses the theatre technique of recorded delivery, where the actors listen to the real recorded interviews through earphones and repeat the words as they hear them, bringing the audience as close to the truth behind the words as possible. Featuring interviewees from Great Britain and Northern Ireland and beyond, we meet health professionals, women, men and young people on all sides of the debate.

Importantly a number of medical professionals and academics such as Dr Jayne Kavanagh (Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL) were embedded in the piece’s development as consultants and collaborators to ensure its accuracy, enabled through funding from the Wellcome Trust.

    The experience of having an abortion is such a taboo in society, and many women feel that they have to keep it a secret. We are pleased to be able to share these stories far and wide, and help combat the stigma around something that happens to 1 in 3 British women in their lifetimes.

    Julia Samuels, Writer

    The production has been directed for Performance Live by Lindy Heymann, who won a BIFA (Best Directorial Debut) for her film Showboy. Lindy recently co-wrote and directed the short film The Laughing King, which premiered at the LSFF where she was nominated for Best Female Director. The film has been released online and is used to raise funds for CALM, the mental health charity. Lindy has experience of directing music videos with artists such as Take That, The Charlatans, Suede and Faithless – this is her first experience of directing theatre for television.

    Director of Photography Deepa Keshvala has worked closely with young directors and has experience capturing a wide spectrum of real environments and people. She has worked on several award-winning projects such as Honda (The Other Side), Paolo Nutini (Iron Sky) and an iconic John Lewis Christmas campaign (The Man on the Moon).

    Credits

    Writer Julia Samuels
    Director Lindy Heymann
    Composer Keith Saha
    Producer Roxanne Moores
    Executive Producer Justine Potter
    Director of Photography Deepa Keshvala

    Presented by Julie Hesmondhalgh

    Cast

    Paige Emma Burns
    Leah Jamie-Lee O’Donnell
    Tanaya Aizah Khan
    Cousin Dorcas Sebuyange
    All other parts played by the cast.