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SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT: I, Lord to premiere at the Bloomsbury Theatre!

Updated: May 30, 2023

We're positively giddy over here and we're pretty sure it's not sunstroke… That can only mean one thing: IT'S A SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT!


Not only that - it's a one-afternoon-only chance to see our next big show, I, Lord, in a major central London venue, followed by a panel discussion with academics and activists at the forefront of a theme that we all see too often in our daily lives, but most of us never name: spiritual abuse.


It's been a whole year since our first rehearsed reading after our residency at Theatre Deli, and what a year it's been all over the world for our understanding of this topic. The Church of England has had to acknowledge at least 383 historical hidden abuse cases, a number of high-profile current ones, and face serious questions about how "independent" its safeguarding board really is. But, is the growing work of its relatively new survivor engagement department a sign that at least some of the key players in this enormous organisation want to see it change?


Meanwhile, we've been reading in the news about horrific impingements of women's rights and queer rights in Iran and Afghanistan (among many, many other countries), under regimes that justify their actions on religious grounds - but how do most people who follow those faiths actually feel about those regimes? And with people of various faiths facing prejudice that ranges from micro-aggressions to outright violence in their everyday lives from members of secular society here in the UK, who are we really punishing for these abuses of "faith"?


Colin Bloom, minister for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recently published a review into how effectively government is engaging with faith communities (very brief synopsis: we have an awfully long way to go). As a survivor who has been almost as badly damaged by secular hostility to people of faith as I have by the faith-based abusers themselves, it was a joy to see his recognition that most people of faith are kind, giving, open-minded people who contribute a huge amount of good to society. It also didn't surprise me to see what a high percentage of respondents from a variety of faiths said that they didn't feel safe to be themselves in British society.


Acknowledging the limitations to the review, Bloom acknowledges that more engagement with women and young people would be beneficial to get a fuller picture. I, Lord feels very timely, centering as it does the young female experience with a range of intersectional lenses exploring misogyny, mental health streamlining, victim-blaming, queer experiences, racism and generational trauma.


If this all sounds really heavy, don't worry - it's always a priority for us to balance asking bold, uncompromising questions with fun, safety and above all, hope. We’re building that not only into our script, but our whole creation process. Thanks to a commission from the current study into Abuse in Religious Contexts happening at the University of Kent, we are working with survivors before rehearsals in a series of creative writing, visual arts and sound workshops to explore what safe spiritual spaces look and sound like to us in an interfaith way. This will create a public e-zine that will also be used as a training resource for spiritual leaders and safeguarding professionals, as well as directly informing our set and sound design, allowing us to clothe our stage in safety for this difficult story.


We’re also bringing survivor activists into our community cast, led by none other than survivor and UCL public health lecturer Dr Ayeshah Émon, who will lead our panel discussion at the event. We’ll tell you more about her extraordinary international theatre work closer to the time because this woman needs a whole blog post to herself! The rest of the panel is to be confirmed, but expect to see some of the researchers from the Abuse in Religious Contexts study; safeguarding activists from Strengthening Faith Institutions, a national interfaith program; and a few other brilliant people dedicated to improving our understandings of the richness proper understandings of faiths and spiritual practices can bring to our lives.


We're on at 4:30pm at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Monday 30th October. Early bird tickets are £5 each, or £3 a head if you make a group booking of 10 or more people. (If you can and want to pay more, there is that option at checkout and we would be very, very grateful, as we're still scrambling to make sure the project gets properly funded! But it's vital to us that the show can be seen by anyone who wants to see it.)


If childcare is usually a barrier to your accessing theatre, never fear: we are also developing a parallel children's show for 5-11s in an adjacent part of the building, that your little ones can attend while you're with us. They'll have loads of fun writing, drawing and making music in response to favourite stories from different faiths, and it's totally free for kids of those who book for the main show.


There's one little catch: we need to prove to the venue through advance ticket sales that we'll have a nice, full audience, by 4th September, or we don't go on. So please, please, if you want to see this topic get the treatment it deserves on a main stage, book now!


Finally, we'll be sharing bits of our development process for this and some other things we have cooking in the following months - so why not sign up to our brand new mailing list to keep up to speed? We'd love to stay in touch!


You've reached the end of this post? Impressive. Go on, admit it - that clearly means you're interested enough to book for the show! It's a one-time-only event for the show and panel discussion together, so there's nothing to wait for!


See you there :)


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