Theatre tour puts investigative journalism on stage in Birmingham


A collaboration between journalists and performers is set to use dramatic techniques to bring stories and reporting about domestic violence to Birmingham next month as part of a nationwide tour.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism‘s (TBIJ) Refuge Woman, a spoken-word show inspired by real events, will be held in Birmingham’s Stan Café on Saturday evening, 28 July 2018.

Besides Birmingham, the show will tour in seven other locations across England – the cities and towns where local journalists worked on a collaborative investigation into the state of domestic violence funding.

The show will include a performance of a 40-minute one-woman show, followed by a talk from local journalists presenting the findings of their long-term investigation with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Maeve McClenaghan, investigative journalist and producer of the tour, said:

“This is an exciting and ambitious way to bring these vital, important stories by local journalists to new audiences across the country, sparking debate along the way.

Refuge Woman is a powerful and moving piece of theatre which will be the perfect introduction to a deeper conversation about how and why refuge provision varies across the country, with local journalists and experts exploring the situation in their area.”

“I decided to draw upon my own experiences of living in a refuge”

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has been working with playwright and performer Cash Carraway ever since McClenaghan met her the day after the ceiling collapsed in the refuge where Carraway was living.

TBIJ went on to report Carraway’s story in its investigative reporting series on domestic violence.

Carraway has since turned her experiences into a fictionalised, one-woman show that tackles the mundanity, tragedy and unexpected humour of life in a refuge.

She said: “I really want to write a piece of theatre that highlights the devastating effects of government cuts to women’s services and provides a realistic snapshot of what life is really like for women fleeing domestic violence in modern Britain. I decided to draw upon some of my own experiences of living in a refuge because I was keen to give a visceral and truthful perspective of the complexities and stigma that many survivors of domestic violence face.

“I’m very excited to be developing Refuge Woman with the Bureau and to be taking the show to the communities most affected by the cuts.”

Connecting journalists across the country

TBIJ’s Bureau Local project connected 20 local journalists and volunteers who together dug into cuts to domestic violence provision across the country.

They found funding for refuges had been cut by 24% since 2010. More than a 1,000 women and children were turned away from refuges in six months alone last year.

Across the country, local reporters told their own stories of cuts. Birmingham Eastside were one of the organisations involved, reporting on soaring cases of domestic violence while funding was cut, and Birmingham MP Preet Gill’s call for more action against domestic violence.

The show will tour the following locations:

  • Norwich (Puppet Theatre, 14 July)
  • Lancaster (Gregson Community Centre, 18 July)
  • Birmingham (Stan’s Theatre, 28 July)
  • Bristol (Alma Theatre Tavern, 3 August)
  • Leeds (Seven Arts Theatre, 9 August)
  • Byline Festival (24 August,)
  • Carlisle (Carlisle Festival, 2 September)
  • London (Camden People’s Theatre, 8 November).

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.



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