Dark Skies, Day Break and Me 

Buster [brown and white dog sleeping on a yellow and brown blanket]

I’ve been working with groups online throughout the pandemic and we talk about routines. Mine –  I wake in the dark, listen for cars to gauge the time.  I step and open my stay-at-home office door, a room I share with our staffie, Buster, he sleeps wrapped like a pig in blanket under my desk. I pick up notebook, pens, highlighters and diary.  I like the dark, quiet of the field out the back of my house.  I turn on orange chilli lights and boil the kettle.  I have a corner that feels like 1970 the colour of toffee sweats with banana centres.  I turn on the radio and I feel a rant, taste injustice and think about the women, communities and shows I have worked on over the past 23 yrs with Open Clasp. 

Recently it started with the chat about social care, care homes, staff and pay.  It took me back to 2012 and Swags & Tails.  I had worked with women in dementia units, care homes, day centres and spent time with women who lived alone and lonely.  It was set on the day Margaret Thatcher died, before she actually did die.  Her death (in the play) triggered memories of the milk snatcher, miners, strikes and privatization – I didn’t know until this point, that social care had been privatized and that care homes are businesses. In 2019 I had the honour of working with Sharon Bailey on her project Home Alone. I wrote in response to her interviews and diaries, I found stories as in Swag & Tail and today the radio talks about reforms, caps and levelling up.  The north and south, my house and yours, levelled up so we pay the same for our care, even if your house is worth three times mine. 

I turn on the corner light, Buster climbs next and up close.  I hear that twenty seven people are lost in the cold sea, our borders are fenced, and lines are drawn.  The radio asks ‘what desperation leads to someone getting into the a boat to cross a freezing sea’.  I remember back to Stand n Tan 2003 and then The Space between Us and Songlines in 2013. Our time with women blown from the four corners of the world, their shoes and sandals, the steps taken through rivers, holding children high on shoulders and those lost to the sea, the silent screams of mothers.  

Another day breaks and I hear about Ava White, aged 12, stabbed to death while watching the lights of Christmas sparkle and shine in my hometown of Liverpool.  I think back to Jumping Puddles in 2015, our work with young women in Liverpool and the North East.  The danger navigated, voices unheard, nightclubs, dance floors and predators. Of schools, homophobia and transphobia, bereavement felt by those who are young. 

Ava’s death was on the 25th November (International Day To End Violence Against Women & Girls).   We placed four films online for the 16 days of action.   I think about each of the shows, Key Change, Sugar, Rattle Snake and don’t forget the birds and the entitlement felt by men, to perpetrate violence against women and girls, and to other men if they don’t conform to a narrative that holds the patriarchy. 

Last night I saw my first Christmas show. it called for us all to believe in magic and together can save the world.  It made me think about Two Camps, and international project with sex workers.  They talked about a sea change, their voices are being heard but they need allies and solidarity.  There is a huge debate, there are Two Camps, maybe more but the reason I wanted to do this project is all the camps have the same aim, to end violence against sex workers, women, transgender, intersex and those who are non-binary.

We talked about being afraid and waiting for the day to break, you want the light, even if that makes no sense, one hour to the next.  We need the light and a new horizon. To me we are played by many to fight each other, and what we should do is unite, come together and fight the real enemy of we, the oppressed people. 


You can watch our film collection at home on your TV, on your phone, with your community group or at work with colleagues. By watching, talking, tweeting and sharing our work, you are part of the movement to advocate for change. All tickets are Pay What You Can, from £1 to Pay It Forward tickets which will support our work reach local communities and make change a reality. Click here: https://openclasp.ticketco.events/uk/en

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