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London Theatre News Today: Wednesday 4 February

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai Published 3 February 2021

Barbican announces 2021 programme: A Feminist Literary Festival

The annual literary festival New Suns returns for a weekend of talks, workshops and a film centred around feminist storytelling. The weekend will feature acclaimed writers, activists, artists, and academics including adrienne maree brown, Season Butler and Dorothea Lasky. This third edition of the festival, running from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 March 2021, will take place entirely online for the first time. New Suns is a co-production between the Barbican and independent publisher and curator Sarah Shin.

This year’s New Suns will look to the legacy of eminent science-fiction author Octavia Butler, to explore the power we have to both sustain and change the world around us, and how to commune with others. In particular, New Suns will reflect on Butler’s prophetic, unfinished Earthseed series, which imagines Earth in the 2020s ravaged by ecological disaster and violent divisions. The young Black protagonist Lauren Olamina not only survives a journey through a treacherous version of the American West after being forced to leave her home, but also seeds hope with her writing, and builds a new community that she believes one day will travel to the stars.

The festival will navigate the books’ central themes, such as the inevitability of change, community-building, examinations of race and gender, and humanity’s relationship to the cosmos. Click here to find out more!


Domestic abuse and coercive control take centre stage in livestream performance of All In Your Head

Women’s experiences of domestic abuse and coercive control will be brought to light in the one-woman show All In Your Head, a pay what you can, live theatrical experience for audiences across the UK, in the socially distant setting of YouTube livestream.

Theatre has a power to transport audiences to a different time, place, mindset, or emotion. As one of the earliest forms of public entertainment, theatre has always held a mirror up to society, reflecting what is illuminated in the lights or hidden in the shadows.

All In Your Head is based on the real accounts of survivors, sharing their stories while showing that “just leaving” isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Naomi Sparrow will portray the many subtle and covert ways that mental, emotional, and physical abuse show up in relationships as she brings the script from internationally-nominated playwright Safaa Benson-Effiom to life. Wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt, from I May Destroy You, will also support the production.

The performance was originally scheduled for May 2020 as part of Calm Down, Dear, the feminist festival presented by Camden People’s Theatre. Support from Arts Council England is now allowing the work to pivot to a digital performance instead, which will be followed by a panel discussion with survivors of gender-based violence and representatives from support organisations.

2020 will forever be remembered as the year of COVID-19, and the ‘shadow pandemic’ too. 2020 marked five years of coercive and controlling behaviour being in the UK Serious Crimes Act, and the prevalence of coercive control and domestic abuse was made starkly public by the pandemic. Domestic abuse support services were receiving one call an hour in June 2020, a trend which only grew as restrictions tightened, causing more time to be spent with partners. 1

While the statistics are shocking, it must be remembered that each statistic represents a woman or child, a survivor or a homicide victim.

All In Your Head producer (and CEO of Purple Moon Drama) Cheryl Ndione says:

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve been constantly reminded to stay safe by staying at home, but home isn’t a safe place for so many people. Producing the show has given me so much insight into the reality of this, and I hope All In Your Head provides education, understanding, courage, and healing.”

Lucy Dear – Director and creator of All In Your Head says:

“All In Your Head explores how the seemingly perfect partner can quickly become a source of fear, terror, and violence. Through Naomi Sparrow’s performance we are introduced to a woman who we can all relate to, and watch how the abuser shrinks her into a fragile shell of her former self. We want this show to shift perceptions of abuse, but it is our hope that survivors feel we are telling this far too common story in a way that is considerate, educational, and respectful”.

All In Your Head will be performed on Sunday 14th February, at 7pm. Tickets are available at cptheatre.co.uk, on a sliding scale from £0 upwards to ensure everybody who needs to see the show, can.

Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/


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