Black Theatre Live & Queen's hall Arts seed commission
Butterflies from Open Clasp Theatre Company, Cartina McHugh artistic director.
I don’t need to see purple in my diary to remind me that its time to blog about our week with real life mother and daughter. Supported by Black Theatre Live and Queens Hall Arts, we’ve had the honour to be in the room with two amazing women.
When reflecting back to day one you can see us all sitting there, a little self-conscious, maybe a little awkward, and at times a bit unclear about what we were all doing in this little black box in the Queen's Hall Arts Hexham. Midway through, the script began to breathe life and was up on its feet and we all saw it beginning to unfold. When words are taken from paper to stage is the most exciting moment for me (everything else before that can feel like a worry as the writer with the responsibility to give the room a starting point).
Midway the room filled with laughter, butterflies, dancing and big conversations about family, relationships, choices, racism, contradictions, assumptions and preconceived ideas.
Open Clasp’s Associate Director Laura Lindow and I talked at the beginning of the week about our fears and the need to ensure we don’t damage this special mother daughter relationship. At the end of the week they both said how it had strengthened their relationship; the mother saying our time with her in Low Newton prison back in 2014 was like therapy, and that this week was similar; but more so for her daughter, with an opportunity to talk for the first time about what it was like for her to lose her mother, to have her taken from her, and then given back ‘one of the hardest thing that I will ever have to do’.
Our last day with this real life mother and daughter, creating a play about their lives, when prison takes one away from the other, left us all in bits, tears and laughter and hope that we have another gem of a story that will move audiences and make us all think and change x brilliant team x Laura Lindow, Jessica Johnson (assistant director/actor with Key Change), Jill Heslop (our Creative Producer) and Dolce and Lottie (not real names till they say it’s ok).