Students to stage “powerful and unforgettable” performance on domestic abuse in Hendon

The performance will highlight the fight for an end to violence against women and girls

Four people perform in an open atrium space.
It’s Not OK at Middlesex University’s Grove Atrium in May. The students pictured are Luna Loreno, Katy Mulhern, Atlanta Sonson-Chapman and Andzelika Matusz. Photo: Middlesex University

Four Middlesex University theatre students will perform the immersive piece It’s Not OK at a conference fighting violence against women and girls on Tuesday 28th November.

Barnet Council’s Family Services department requested the performance after seeing attendees “touched on an emotional level” when it was staged as part of the #HearMyVoice campaign at the university in May.

The three BA Theatre students and one recent MA Theatre Arts graduate will move around the space, using their voices to bring to life the experiences of those suffering domestic abuse, including coercive and controlling relationships.

Katy Mulhern, a recent graduate from MA Theatre Arts who will reprise her part in the performance on Tuesday, said: “Performance has the power to resonate powerfully, providing a different understanding of things in ways that can last for longer than, for instance, reading a report.

“It can provoke empathy in those who don’t have lived experience of domestic violence and provide a sense of being seen or heard for those who have suffered this type of abuse.”

Year 3 BA Theatre student Alyssa Mansaray and Year 2 students Daisy Lennon and Maggie Nikolova will join Katy for the production.

The script was developed by Dr Helen Bendon, Interim Head of Department at the School of Film at Middlesex University, and Nicola Stammers, who is the university’s Director of Programmes for Theatre Arts.

Dr Bendon said: “The performance of It’s Not OK is a literal and very powerful use of voice.

“Through this partnership with community organisations and groups, students gain experience working on challenging briefs for real clients, and use their voices and creative skills to address important social justice issues.”

An audience of more than 100 people from Barnet Council’s Family Services, other public bodies, community groups and councillors will watch the performance as part of the UNITE To End Violence Against Women conference.

Radlamah Canakiah, strategy manager for violence against women and girls in Barnet Family Services, said: “When first performed, the powerful performance had such an impact and imprinted some of our key messages around what abusive behaviour can look like in a very memorable and unforgettable piece by touching attendees on an emotional level.” 

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