New play puts forced marriage and 'honour' violence under spotlight
Lynne Brighouse talks to Susan Moffat about her new production All Our Daughters?
THE issue of forced marriages and so-called "honour" violence is put under the spotlight in a new production coming to Derby Theatre next week.
All Our Daughters? is part of the award-winning programme developed by New Vic Borderlines in Staffordshire, a ground-breaking project which uses drama to highlight the issues and social pressures that surround these type of incidents.
Using the direct testimonies of real women from the Stoke area, All Our Daughters? aims to increase understanding of forced marriage and so-called "honour" violence so young people, teachers and other professionals are more able to spot tell-tale signs and help those who may be at risk.
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All Our Daughters? is written and directed by Susan Moffat, the director of New Vic Borderlines.
The project works with people at risk of being socially marginalised due to position, status, class or culture.
According to Susan, it is not only females who are the victim of these crimes.
"Although it is often young women who are affected, men are also often the victims of honour killings, too, which is why the title of the performance has a question mark at the end," she said.
"It is not just a modern issue either. It has featured throughout the last century.
"Nor is it confined to any particular religion, social class, ethnic group or culture.
"It is really about the social pressure, manipulation and ultimately violence which is used to override the rights of individuals to make their own choices in life."
Susan explained that the play, which is delivered in a documentary drama style, is looking to raise more awareness about the issues and also to support the rights of individuals and communities to take a stand against the abuse of forced marriages and honour killings.
"We hope it will prompt debate and help people to have these difficult conversations," said Susan.
All Our Daughters? was first developed as a request from the community in Staffordshire and it is an amalgamation of true stories, presented by four main characters.
Throughout the play, the audiences also hear the real voices of survivors of these crimes – a very powerful device which emphasises the reality and painful experiences associated with this issue.
The voices give the production a real integrity.
Susan said: "We hope that, as a result of this drama and the conference we run alongside it, professionals and non-governmental organisations feel able to support each other in supporting young people and others at risk."
WHAT: All Our Daughters?
WHERE: Derby Theatre.
WHEN: February 28 to March 1, 7.30pm.
ADMISSIONS: £4 (£3 concessions).
TICKETS: Call Derby 593939 or visit www.derbytheatre.co.uk.
An opportunity for discussions
THE performance of All Our Daughters? next Friday at 11am is included in a day-long conference to discuss the key themes explored and highlighted within the play.
The day will begin at 9.15am and finish at 4pm and will consist of speeches and practical sessions from writer and director Susan Moffat; a speech from Jasvinder Sanghera, who is an activist and advocate for women's rights from Derby and co-founder of the charity Karma Nirvana, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriages and honour-based violence; and workshops and discussions with organisations and individuals, who will describe and discuss their personal experiences, from the justice system and Arts in the Community.
There will be opportunities throughout the day to ask questions. The cost for the day, including the performance and refreshments, is £9 per person.
For details, call Derby 593939 or visit www.derbytheatre.co.uk.