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I, Lord

Written by Nell Hardy
Directed by Nell Bailey
Designed by Victoria Maytom with Bahja Mahamed
Sound Design by Radhika Aggarwal and Lorenzo Bassignani for Echo Chamber Audio
Lighting Design by Amy Daniels
Assistant Direction and Stage Management by Holly Gibson and Carly McCann
Cast: Nicole Acquah, Jan van der Black, Jane Chevous, Iman Boujelouah, Ayeshah Émon, Nell Hardy, Lisa Ogun', Eric Pollack, Claire Reay, Francesca D'Souza, and Richard Stirling
Wellbeing Facilitators: Sahar Beg and Jane Chevous

Supported by Arts Council England, Old Diorama Arts Centre and Theatre Deli

"Atheists like you are everything that’s wrong with religion."

Evie can’t pray.
Ayeza can’t stop praying.
Priya doesn’t want to pray - or at least, that’s what she tells everyone.
Will you take this time to pray, or will you let your mind wander?

Response Ability Theatre brings its uncompromisingly compassionate lyricism into I, Lord, inviting you to attend mass through the mind of a survivor of spiritual abuse.

Inspired by writer Nell Hardy’s experiences within the Church of England and informed by survivors from other and no faiths, we explore what makes us put up with mistreatment in faith settings, interrogate the enabling role of anti-religious stigma in seemingly secular cultures, and ask where any of us can find enough peace to hear the voice of our own spirituality.

rs 14  231030 I, Lord 1st performance final set-3M2A0715.jpg

Photo credit: Oluwatosin Daniju

Photo credits: Oluwatosin Daniju

"I can't - I have the kids those nights."
No problem - bring them with you!

For the very first time, RAT is offering a FREE parallel children's show for 5-11 year olds at the same time as selected performances of I, Lord!

I, Lord kids.jpg

This is to allow parents of young children to access theatre without worrying about childcare; engage children in complex topics in age-appropriate ways; and have intergenerational family members challenged equally by a topic, and able to discuss it together afterwards.

Topics explored will include:

-the role of a spiritual teacher or leader: what kind of person takes these roles typically, what kind of people can take them, what kind of people should take them.

-comparing the qualities that faith brings to the lives of the children who practice faith, with the sources of these qualities in the lives of the children who do not, to find common ground in our spiritual needs.

-celebrating the variety of understandings or impressions we have of God - overcoming the idea that any of them is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

Children's show co-created by Radhika Aggarwal, Jordana Belaiche and Nell Hardy

Responses So Far

"I am still reeling from the performance yesterday. This piece is so full of compassion, and it amazes me how someone who had once received so little compassion from the world around her is able to produce something that is full of acceptance, understanding and hope."
- survivor

"So thought provoking and powerful. Kept saying 'wow'!"
- interested public

"It was so insightful and such a powerful performance."
- activist

"Tonight was profoundly disturbing in the most spiritually appropriate way. I was moved to tears at several points. Your courage has had a huge impact on our family and ministry."
- CofE priest

"Fantastic. Be proud of this evening and feel positive about what is to come."
- CofE National Safeguarding Team employee

And responses to the children's show...

"I have two religions at home and it's really difficult because they're completely the opposite. This helped me realise that's OK."


"I didn't realise there are so many religions! That was really interesting."


"I learned that we can all be our own leaders and think about God our own way."


"We never do anything like this. This was so much fun!"

"I'm sad because we're leaving!"

And how about the responses to our General Synod fringe appearance?

On Friday 23rd February 2024, we performed extracts of the show at a fringe event at the Church of England's General Synod, the evening before a whole day of discussions on safeguarding practice.
As a result, two major bishops referred to our work in their addresses, respectively calling for improvements in safeguarding and for mandatory trauma-consciousness training for all members of Synod.
Watch them here!

Photo credits Matt Mahmood-Ogston

The Making of I, Lord: a survivor-led process

We loved chatting with Rosie Dawson for the Shiloh Podcast about how we have worked with other survivors of spiritual and/or faith-based abuse to develop the trauma-informed design of the show - have a listen to the mini audio documentary.

I, Lord:
The survivor-led
design journey

Check out some of the powerful artwork and poetry from our survivor design group!

Want to make it larger? Just click the double arrow on the top right hand side, then click "Presentation Mode".


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