Show at the Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich highlights the issue of domestic violence

Domestic violence victims can find it difficult to break free from the often-hidden abuse which can have a devastating long-term effect on their lives.

Now the Maddermarket Theatre, in Norwich, is hoping to raise awareness and explore issues related to domestic violence in its latest production called Five Kinds of Silence.

Written originally as a radio play by Shelagh Stephenson, the show takes place in the 1990s following the shooting of Billy who has ruled his house with military precision and an explosive temper. It reveals the story of Billy's wife, Mary, and his daughters, Susan and Janet, as told through interviews with the police and other services. It also goes back in time to follow Billy's memories from early childhood to his murder, and to follow Mary's recollections from childhood to when she met Billy.

'The play is all the more powerful because it does not show incidents of violence but explores the world that Billy came from, and the one he has chosen to create for his family. This is explored through the women's stories as they unfold after his death,' said Chris Bealey, the show's director.

Mr Bealey works as an education advisor and he said he chose to direct the show in part because in the past he had worked with the organisations Leeway and Stonham, which both offer help to victims of domestic violence. He said he hoped the show would raise awareness of domestic violence and the help available to people in need of support, and said information about both of the organisations will be available at the theatre throughout the run of the show.

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He said he it was important to him the show was a true representation of the issue, and so he enlisted the help of people with experience in supporting people who had suffered domestic abuse.

'People who work with the refuges reviewed the script before we started as I wanted to be clear that for them it was a true representation of the subject.'

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Ginny Porteous, who plays Susan, Billy's oldest daughter, said: 'The show has lots of little sections that tell the story and there is enough information without being too graphic. Billy's presence is on stage all the time and that is important.'

Kerry Skelding, who used to work with Leeway, was one of the experts to work with the show. She said: 'The issue still needs to be raised much higher in people's awareness because it is still very much something that is not talked about. The fact that the Maddermarket is putting on Five Kinds of Silence is brilliant.'

A woman who works with Stonham Women's Refuge in Norfolk, and who wanted to remain anonymous, added: 'It is it is great this show will make people think about the issue. Anything that raises the profile of domestic abuse and the help available to help people suffering from domestic abuse is a good thing.'

Five Kinds of Silence runs until Saturday, March 31, Tickets cost �12, �10 and �8. To book visit or call 01603 620917.

For more information about Leeway visit or call the Leeway helpline on 0845 2412171.

The Norwich Evening News's Don't Suffer in Silence campaign has tried to help highlight the problem of domestic abuse and what is being done to combat it. To report domestic abuse to Norfolk police call 999 in an emergency or 101.

Have you got a story about domestic abuse? Call crime correspondent Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email

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