Seeing Red radio play
Melodramatics is a diverse group of women from the New Bury area in Farnworth. The group is run by the Bolton at Home and Octagon theatre partnership. We started out as a women's group and discovered that we enjoyed doing drama the most out of all the creative arts we explored.
I'm Kelly and have been with the group from the start. I play the victim of domestic abuse in the radio play. We have come so far since the early days and achieved things beyond any of our expectations.
Seeing Red, the play we wrote as a group, is a big achievement for Melodramatics. The play is about domestic abuse and was written based on the groups' personal experiences of domestic abuse. You might now be thinking "oh how awful that they've all gone through this". As shocking as this sounds it isn't unusual, as one of four women in England and Wales will experience domestic abuse. One in three women globally will experience domestic abuse. Sadly this is the reality we all live with.
We performed the play at the Octagon Theatre in September 2016 and then again, for the "16 days of activism against gender violence" in November 2016. We were overwhelmed by the response. The audience asked us to tour and spread the message further. We decided, as that wasn't a possibility with our personal commitments, that a radio play may help spread the message and raise awareness. After performing on stage for the first time ever, we have now made a radio play!
We really enjoyed making the radio play and performing at the theatre. It's bonded our group so much and we had a real laugh. The play isn't all doom and gloom. It has some really good comedy moments too. We felt this made it more enjoyable to watch and also added to the drama of the more serious scenes. Christine, another group member is fantastic at comedy. She's naturally so funny and always has us in stitches.
It was a challenge to change the play from a visual performance to just audio. We had to discuss the sound effects and Gill from Melodramatics had the great idea of us closing our eyes and turning our backs to listen to the other members perform. This gave us an idea of how the scenes came across when we couldn't see them acted out. We also had a lot of help from Danielle from Bolton at Home who recorded the play for us.
We've been given so many fantastic opportunities along the way. Working with writers, directors and other professionals in the industry including Gary Hanks who is a professional actor and played the part of the perpetrator. It was a real privilege to work with him as he is such a nice person in real life and he helped us a lot.
I really hope you enjoy the play as much as we enjoyed making it. It was a real journey for us and I hope you pick up on some of the more subtle signs of abuse. I hope that if it touches you in some way and makes a connection to your life, you can take the steps to end the abuse. There is so much support available and we have a lot of services available in Bolton. You are not alone and no one deserves to suffer abuse. Enjoy the play!
Please note: this play contains scenes that some may find distressing.