Friends commission domestic violence drama

A play about domestic violence has been commissioned by Friends in Gloucestershire

Journeymen Theatre performing 'Rock and a Hard Place'. | Photo: Matt Hill.

Gloucestershire Quakers have commissioned Journeymen Theatre to produce a play following a long-standing concern about domestic violence.

The play, called Rock and a Hard Place, is based on real life stories with input from Stroud Women’s Refuge, which, according to Gloucester Friends, is the only surviving refuge in the county following government cuts in 2012.

Jane Mace, from Gloucestershire Area Meeting, told the Friend that the concern grew almost two years ago when they realised how badly government cuts had hit the provision of women’s refuges across the country. In the UK, two women are killed every week in their own homes by a current or former partner. 

Jane Mace said: ‘We realised we had to make more Quakerly noises about it. It goes to the heart of our testimonies – violence in the home towards women and children. It’s not in another country or a civil war, but it is domestic civil war and it is violence, right here and now. We had a letter in the Friend in 2017 and held our first Area Meeting about it in June 2017.’

The idea to commission the play came from Maud Grainger, tutor in faith in action at Woodbrooke. This was followed by a public meeting in the town, which according to Jane Mace, ‘felt like a powerful move, because it made us put into words how we cared, how bad things were and what a refuge does. Actors from Journeymen came as well.’

The play focuses on Kayleigh, a teenager who finds herself in a cycle of domestic abuse. According to Gloucestershire Friends, it ‘vividly illustrates the nature of violence in the home, from the mind games of coercive control to the violence of murder at the hands of abusive partners and family members’. 

The play will show at three venues across Gloucestershire starting on 28 February, before a national tour, with a special performance for International Women’s Day in Cirencester on 8 March. It will also be shown at Yearly Meeting on 24-27 May at Friends House in London.

In the UK, one in four women over sixteen years old experience domestic violence or abuse at some point in their lives.

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