Lines learnt, songs sang, guests and big stories to tell, done beautifully.
This is our final week and its Thursday morning, day four – tomorrow we dress, and Saturday is the final day before SUGAR is previewed in the North East and Manchester.
Monday we were joined by Tricia Duffy from Direct Access, a women’s hostel in Manchester providing emergency accommodation for 33 women who are homeless. Tuesday by one of our lovely Patrons Charlie Hardwick, Wednesday by women who have collaborated on the show and Friday will be a handful of guests to see the final show before SUGAR goes on the road on Monday. The week also included an outing to probation, no longer run at the women’s centre, now held at the old coroner’s court in town.
Things we know, the stories are truthful, powerful and have potential to trigger thought, emotion and empathy. We know that when the cast sing, our hearts melt and break. What we also got a glimpse of this week is how SUGAR may impact on audiences. The guests were diverse but all shared tears, knowledge and hope, hope that this piece of theatre will change lives.
We are looking at hard issues, because during the workshops the women did. They named it/them and we stand in solidarity with these women to name/make visible and ensure that we (society) consider why we have perpetrators of sexual violence and rape, childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence – standing with others to break the silence and shine a light on the shadows – NAME AND CHANGE IT – SOCIETY!
SUGAR argues for alternatives for women to prison, argues for better provision of care/support for those released from prison and it also argues for prevention, for a better world, for our eyes to be open and to see.
“I was always going to end up in here (prison), Crashing, But not this time, The shame is His, Theirs, And not mine”.
When collaborating with the women in the three groups, those in prison, in emergency accommodation and on probation, we witnessed resilience, strength, courage and hope.
What we don’t know is how it will be received by our audiences, but I think we have something with SUGAR, it holds the voices of women who are heroes in their own struggle to survive, its political in its argument for change, and its angry at injustice to all those who experience harm, hurt and hate.