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I only make shows if something makes me angry

Published: 28 March 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Smack That (a conversation), created by theatremaker and choreographer Rhiannon Faith who says that she only make shows if something makes her angry, comes from the Barbican to Tyneside.

The production features a female cast of seven, all of whom play Beverly. Among them are non-performers and experienced dance and theatre artists. Each has her own personal experience of domestic abuse and they convey the turbulent, real life experiences of domestic abuse that they and Beverly 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 and the fun, upbeat party setting allows these voices to be heard without prejudice while marshmallows and party poppers readily mix with refuge contact information.

“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,” said Faith. “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.”

The show is based on authentic stories told by survivors of domestic violence and abuse. It seeks to raise awareness of domestic abuse and move the conversations from private to public. It is designed to support women and encourage them to talk openly about their experiences. It is underpinned by Faith'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.

Smack That (a conversation) is coming to Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on 24 May as part of a national tour.

Rhiannon Faith created the piece because:

  • Reported instances of domestic abuse 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.
  • One in four women experience domestic abuse in their lives.
  • On average a woman is assaulted 35 times before she receives help.
  • 750,000 UK children witness domestic abuse or violence each year.
  • The impact of domestic violence costs the UK £15.7 billion annually.
  • In England and Wales one woman is killed by their partner, or ex-partner, every three days.