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Students to stage ‘powerful and unforgettable’ performance at Town Hall

23/11/2023
Three BA Theatre students and a recent MA Theatre Arts graduate will stage the performance It’s Not OK at a conference fighting violence against women and girls on Tuesday

MDX theatre student Atlanta Sonson-Chapman performs It's Not OK in May

MDX theatre student Atlanta Sonson-Chapman performs It's Not OK in May

MDX students and a recent graduate will stage a “powerful and unforgettable” performance on domestic abuse at Hendon Town Hall this week.

Three BA Theatre students and a recent MA Theatre Arts graduate will perform the piece It’s Not OK at a conference fighting violence against women and girls on Tuesday.

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 Middlesex University in May.

"The performance of It’s Not OK is a literal and very powerful use of voice." Dr Helen Bendon

Students staged the immersive performance beginning on the mezzanine of the Grove Atrium and moving 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 now works for MDXworks, will reprise her part in the performance on Tuesday.

She 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.

“It is important for me to be part of this conference.”

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

MDX Students Luna Loreno, Katy Mulhern, Atlanta Sonson-Chapman and Andzelika Matusz perform It's Not OK in May

MDX Students Luna Loreno, Katy Mulhern, Atlanta Sonson-Chapman and Andzelika Matusz perform It's Not OK in May

MDX student Luna Moreno performs It's Not OK in May

MDX student Luna Moreno performs It's Not OK in May

It’s Not OK was based on work for the #HearMyVoice campaign by BA Advertising, PR and Branding students Paige Brewer, Darja Pisova, Alice Murphy, Nayfin Sheikh and Dwayne Forbes.

The script was developed by Dr Helen Bendon, Interim Head of Department at the School of Film, and Nicola Stammers, who is Director of Programmes for Theatre Arts and also directed the piece.

Dr Bendon, who developed the #HearMyVoice campaign with Senior Safeguarding Project Manager Ben Serlin as part of the Changing the Culture partnership between Middlesex University and Barnet Council, 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.”

Ms Stammers, who has a background in residential social work and working with young people who were victims of sexual violence, said: “Creating performances to illuminate these key topics and work towards changing the culture, to tackle violence against women and girls, is an honour.

“Performance has the potential to communicate vital issues and ideas by speaking to audiences on a personal level.

“Performance has the potency to impact people’s emotions, question their views and consequently, performance can ignite change.”

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.”

Click here to find out more about studying Theatre Arts at Middlesex.

Related stories:

MDX-backed study finds Covid-19 period saw domestic abuse increase in Avon and Somerset

Hear my Voice event showcases work tackling violence against women and domestic abuse

MDX films promote charities tackling gender based violence during 16 Days of Activism campaign

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