Theatre company to give voice to women who have multiple children removed to care system

Newcastle-based Open Clasp Theatre is launching its new performance, Lasagna, with £1 tickets to bring about change for mothers who have lost multiple children to care.

Lasagna was created during the second lockdown as commissioned work with women from Pause, North East, part of Barnardo’s. The company worked with women and adapted their stories into a play created for film.

It shines a spotlight on the gap in services for women who have, or are at risk of having, multiple children removed from their care. It asks for change, not only in provision but it demands a system rethink and an end to violence against women and girls.

Research by Lancaster University shows that over 11,000 women had more than one child removed between 2007 and 2014. One in four women who has a child removed through the family courts is likely to return to have another removed and that number increases to one in three if they’re a teenage mother.

According to the Lancaster University research, four out of ten women who had multiple children removed had been in care themselves. A further 14% lived away from their parents, in private or informal arrangements, while many more have experienced disruptive, even chaotic childhoods.

Lasagna went into rehearsals in July 2021, with masks, lateral flow tests and hand sanitiser and was filmed in August. The women from Pause, North East, who had shared their stories were involved throughout the process, from script to costume, to advising on who needs to urgently watch it.

In October ’21, Lasagna was screened at Everyman Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne to collaborators and between 28th March and 14th April, it will be available online, with tickets available from £1.

Catrina McHugh MBE, Artistic Director at Open Clasp, said: “Open Clasp create productions to support audiences to step into the shoes of others, see the world through their lens and through this change happens.  Lasagna also holds the voices of social workers who took time to share their experiences of the system, time with women and families.  They, like the women, want this play to make a difference.

“We hope that people at all levels in the care sector will watch Lasagne and take its message to heart. The women involved worked creatively, debated, wrote and shared their stories, along with their pain.  They wanted a play that could actually make a difference to the system, other women and the world.

“They spent weeks and months, poured over words, costumes and scripts. They worked hard, and their dream is for you to watch, talk to others in your office, at team meetings or in parliament.

“I urge you to watch, understand, and take action for all women across the UK.”

You can watch Lasagna from the Open Clasp website between 28th March and 14th April. Individual tickets are available from £1 and multi-viewer tickets at £25.

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