Monday and outside the country’s protesting and parliament’s debating Trump and Brexit. We gather in the rehearsal room upstairs at West End Women & Girls Centre. We talk about the ways in which people gather and protest, echo chambers and the role Open Clasp plays in making change happen – this is something we all witness during the process to create the work, collaborating with the women, in prison, on probation and in hostels (for SUGAR) and then during the tours, through post show discussion and workshops make space for debate and call to arms, for action and change.
Wednesday we have a guest – one of the women we collaborated with in Low Newton (now released and living in a hostel) travelled four hours by train to join us in rehearsals. Her input key to the truth in the story telling.
We met at the train station, met with the staff team, walked around the park, showed off the women’s centre then joined Laura and the cast.
We shared the scenes, beautiful songs and all our hopes for the piece. We learnt that for this woman, being honest is key to surviving life on the outside, telling people her story, the truth and moving forward. One of the things she likes about being outside is walking, at dusk as night falls. She tells us, this is her last chance, if she falls again, goes back to jail, she won’t get the support she’s getting now; that this moment is hers to seize.
She shares her biggest fear, of time and it slipping through her fingers. She’s changed, is grateful to Low Newton, the support and the opportunity to change, and she’s grasping it with both hands. She’s proud of SUGAR, has shared the script with probation, staff and her family, and she should be, its powerful and will impact on audiences, communities both in prison and on the outside.
We were so very honoured to have her in the room with us, a total privilege and we look forward to her joining us up on stage at Live Theatre on the 10th March where SUGAR, in first stage development will be previewed.