THE HIDDEN WOMEN: Stories behind the doors of Wolverhampton’s Mother & Baby Homes premiers this March!
Image: Newhampton Arts Centre
Digital theatre exploring the hidden stories behind the doors of Wolverhampton Mother & Baby Homes will be premiered online later this March via Newhampton Art Centre.
Adapted for the stage and screen from Feral Production’s original site-specific production, 'Hush Now' is a piece of digital theatre giving voice and visibility to unmarried mothers who were stigmatised, silenced and hidden away.
For 100 years, women across the world who found themselves pregnant, often through abuse, were sent away, effectively hidden and rehoused in a Mother and Baby Home.
To give voices to the 'unheard' women, Feral Productions collaborated with Ledbury poet Sara-Jane Arbury who turned archival research into verse. Her verses were then turned into theatrical songs by Olivia Preye and performed in Hereford in 2019 in a series of promenade performances across nine different locations.
These pieces have now been adapted and will premiere in digital film form in March 2021 in Hereford, Wolverhampton and Dudley.
“Hush Now is one of the most interesting and profoundly moving projects I have ever done.” says writer Sara-Jane Arbury, “I feel a tremendous responsibility in bringing some of the stories to light and giving these women and girls voices for us to hear today. The whole process has inspired me in so many ways and I hope the poems will stay in people’s thoughts for a long time to come.”
Hush Now comprises nine songs, each lifting the lid on the adversities faced by so many unmarried mothers and celebrating their resilience and tenacity during such traumatic experiences.
A participatory element to the Wolverhampton project will offer local residents the opportunity to take part in Creative Writing ( 18th March) and Song Writing ( 25th March) digital workshops via Zoom with Hush Now writer Sara-Jane Arbury and composer Olivia Preye.
Hush Now: Digital Wolverhampton edition will premiere online on Saturday 20th March at 7pm via Newhampton Arts Centre with tickets being sold on a pay-what-you-can basis from NAC’s website.
Digital workshop tickets are FREE and also available through the website but places are limited so booking tickets early to guarantee a space is recommended. For more information or to book tickets just visit newhamptonarts.co.uk.
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