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, Iman Boujelouah, Ayeshah Émon, Nell Hardy, Lisa Ogun', 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.
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!
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
Performed by Radhika Aggarwal and Jordana Belaiche
Responses So Far
I, Lord premiered at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Monday 30th October 2023 to a vibrant audience of academics, students, survivors, activists, spiritual leaders, safeguarding professionals and interested public.
Here's what they thought:
"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."
"So thought provoking and powerful. Kept saying 'wow'!"
- interested public
"It was so insightful and such a powerful performance."
"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!"