20 STORIES HIGH: Exploring abortion brings real life into the open

Following hit success on stage at Contact in Manchester.  The Contact and 20 Stories High co-production “I told my mum I was going on an R.E. trip…” was broadcast on BBC Two on 20th January.  As part of the Performance Live strand of programmes.

“I told my Mum I was going on an R.E. trip…” is a frank drama. Told through the voices of four young female performers, based on interview material gathered from over 50 different people.  Including young women who have had abortions, young parents, health professionals and campaigners. These stories are interwoven with song and spoken word to portray the real experiences of these women.

The show deals with challenging themes but filmed on the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in Britain. Writer Julia Samuels explores the way in which society treats this subject and how it impacts on women today. And importantly asks what would happen if we started to talk openly about it?

This TV production for Performance Live uses the theatre technique of recorded delivery. Where the actors listen to the real recorded interviews through earphones and repeat the words as they hear them. Bringing the audience as close to the truth behind the words as possible.  Featuring interviewees from Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Meet health professionals, women, men and young people on all sides of the debate.

Importantly a number of medical professionals and academics. Such as Dr Jayne Kavanagh (Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL) were embedded in the piece’s development process.  As consultants and collaborators on the project to ensure its accuracy.

Julia Samuels, writer, said:
“The experience of having an abortion is such a taboo in society. Many women feel that they have to keep it a secret. We are pleased to be able to share these stories far and wide. Also help combat the stigma around something that happens to 1 in 3 British women in their lifetimes.”

Now available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.


TNT Arts & Culture

Photo credit: Gary Moyes

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