Journalism and theatre combine for Norwich domestic abuse play

The play 'Refuge Woman' is coming to Norwich's Puppet Theatre on July 14 at 7pm. Photo: Juliet Nagillah

The play 'Refuge Woman' is coming to Norwich's Puppet Theatre on July 14 at 7pm. Photo: Juliet Nagillah


The devastating impact of domestic abuse is being brought to the Norwich stage.

A “darkly humorous” play, called Refuge Woman, is coming to the Puppet Theatre on July 14 as part of a collaboration between journalism and the stage.

The performance, inspired by real events, is being put on by playwright Cash Carraway.

She is a self-confessed “refuge connoisseur” and knows the refuges with the best counsellors, clothing donations and the ones closest to the heartiest of ‘all you can eat’ buffets.

Over the past 16 years she has escaped to refuges from Aldershot to Southend-on-Sea. Carraway has now turned her experiences into a one-woman show which tackles the tragedy and unexpected humour of life in a refuge.

“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,” she said.

In the performance Cash attempts to rebuild her life from scratch in a world where an Argos suitcase contains everything she needs to start again.

The performance will be followed by a talk lead by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), with local journalists and experts about funding cuts to women’s refuges in the region.

Journalists across the country, including from this newspaper, worked with TBIJ last year to expose the scale of cuts to women’s refuges and the impact that was having. In Norwich, this newspaper found women were being turned away from shelters because of a surge in demand.

Police figures showed a 70pc increase in reports of domestic abuse in Norfolk since 2013. But council funding for refuges had fallen by a quarter in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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

Tickets cost £5 and are available here.

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