Smack That in Harlow
Original, accessible and empowering Barbican hit from endlessly inventive choreographer Rhiannon Faith touring in 2019 with dates at Harlow Playhouse 21 & 22 February.
Meet Beverly. You’re invited to her party. Like most parties there’ll be fun and games, drinks, shared conversations, popcorn and energetic dancing. But this party has a darker side and genuine heartbreaking moments as Beverly bravely gives a raw and honest account of surviving an abusive relationship.
One in four women experience domestic abuse in their lives. Smack That (a conversation) by theatremaker and choreographer Rhiannon Faith shines a light on this complex subject. In 2018 the show sold out a week at The Barbican and a short UK tour, and was recently shortlisted for the Innovation in Dance category in the inaugural One Dance UK Awards. The show comes to Harlow Playhouse on 21 and 22 February prior to a three week London run and tour.
Smack That (a conversation) features a female cast of seven who all play Beverly. They are a close-knit group made up of non-performers and experienced dance and theatre artists. Each has their own personal experience of domestic abuse and they convey the turbulent, real life experiences of domestic abuse that Beverly, and they, have endured and survived. The party setting creates a safe space for them to reveal the challenges they have faced and to celebrate their resilience with the audience.
Stories of abuse intertwine with party games and energetic dance routines to create a powerful, moving and unashamedly entertaining piece of theatre. The fun, upbeat party setting allows these voices to be heard without prejudice and where marshmallows and party poppers readily mix with refuge contact information.
Rhiannon said ‘The idea for the show has been with me for years from seeing the experiences and hearing the stories from friends and family and others who felt OK talking privately but lacked the confidence to talk publicly about what they had been (or still were) going through. A lot of dance is there to decorate the world, which is lovely but I am more there to change the world. I only make shows if something makes me feel angry.’
Crucially, Smack That (a conversation) is based on authentic stories told through the voices of survivors of domestic violence and abuse. It seeks to raise awareness of domestic abuse and move the conversations from private to public.
The show is designed to support women and encourage them to talk openly about their experiences. It is underpinned by Rhiannon’s work with a support group at Safer Places, the independent charity that provides services to adults and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse.
Reported instances of domestic abuse in Essex and throughout the UK are said to have almost doubled in recent years – in the UK police receive a complaint about domestic violence every 60 seconds.
Friday 22 Feb and Saturday 23 Feb, 7.45pm
Harlow Playhouse, Playhouse Square, Harlow, Essex CM20 1LS
£5 01279 431945 www.harlowplayhouse.co.uk
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