The image many of us have of domestic abuse is of a drunken man battering his wife while the children cower in a corner. But the problem takes many forms: it may be one partner coercing, intimidating, controlling and isolating the other – making her or him feel worthless, even crazy – denying any access to the family income – co-opting the children into patterns of contempt or blaming – as well as actual assault.
Journeymen Theatre’s new play, commissioned by Gloucestershire Quakers, written by Lynn Morris and performed by her and Dave, gives insights into all of these modes of abuse. The central story is of Kayleigh, and Lynn says it is an act of reparation to a student whom they failed to help many years ago. It starts with that young woman’s situation as Lynn knew it, and develops the narrative by incorporating the experiences of other women who have shared them with her. By introducing us to the members of an assertiveness training group at one point, the play also gives us stories of other forms of domestic abuse, including that of a Quaker woman whose scars don’t show outwardly at all.
Kayleigh does have some friends, including her aunt Jan, a beautifully observed and portrayed character, who has to face her own initial failure to intervene and at last find the courage to help. We are shown how a Women’s Refuge tries to support Kayleigh, while being reminded how many of these Refuges have disappeared due to government “austerity” policies. A radio phone-in programme (see picture) brings alive the widespread attitudes which deny the realities of abuse. The play covers a lot of ground in just over an hour, and provokes heartfelt discussion. It is tough and challenging, funny, sad and horrifying by turns. Some of the audience were in tears at the end, despite its upbeat ending.
Very moving. Well done!
Take it to the House of Commons!
The Journeymen Theatre should put this show on TV! Brilliant
Powerful performance. Thank you for all you’ve put into this
Excellent. Thought-provoking production. It would be helpful to know what else can be done to help people who do not want to leave home at this stage.
First Class acting. Entertaining and educating.
I liked the way it looked at domestic abuse as being from lots of different walks of life, different perspectives, women of all ages, all classes, all are affected. Also the different types of abuse.
Very well written, clear and identifiable. Would love to see it again – Good Luck.
Thank you. Brilliant. And important balanced and covered a lot and enoug
Very powerful presentation and so well crafted with different voices. Thank you
Extremely informative and thought-provoking. I like that there’s so much useful information in the programme.
Very thought-provoking and excellent acting