The team who brought you Mid Life and Mid Life: The Skin We’re In are back again to complete a triptych of explorations into the female experience.
We caught up with Sheila Chapman, the playwright behind the project:
“Lucy and I are loving working with Diverse City on a trio of projects celebrating the power, resilience and potential of women in midlife.
Mid Life – the play
Our first adventure was the devising and staging of an original piece of theatre.
Mid Life, the play, follows three midlife warriors – Claire, a frustrated disco champion, Jacqui, a grandmother fed up with being the only black woman in the room, and Karen, a survivor struggling to be seen. Through the specific stories of these women, we were able to explore universal themes of rage, grief, anxiety, and transformation that resonated with our audiences.
The process of making the play began with our performers. The stories they wanted to tell about their own lives and bodies and experiences of menopause emerged through movement workshops and improvisations. We visited the Exeter Women of the World festival to collect stories of more women and we gave scratch performances of our work in development in venues from Brixton to Somerset to Swanage. Our play evolved each time it met an audience. We went on to perform the emerging play at Aldeburgh’s High Tide Festival and Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment. Finally, Mid Life had sell-out runs at Bristol Old Vic and at The Barbican just before lockdown. We were delighted to hear time and time again, that people of all ages and genders who came to the show, saw their own experience reflected in the show.
Mid Life: The Skin We’re In – the short film
We were thrilled to be able to continue developing our ideas through a different medium during lockdown. Thanks to DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund we were commissioned to make a short film. The result – Mid Life: The Skin We’re In – celebrates the power and resilience of the female body in midlife through poetry, original music and beautiful images. The film has started a digital tour courtesy of Bristol Old Vic, The Brighton Dome, The Barbican and The Civic in Barnsley, and has been well received by audiences (‘my word, it is simply stunning’; ‘intimate, exposing, gentle, strong’; and ‘I LOVED this. LOVED it’) and critics alike (“Brutally honest… Endearingly human” – Stage Talk).
If you would like to book the short film, get in touch with our Producer, Grace Okereke:
Mid Life meets the Next Generation
Now, as we emerge from a terrible pandemic into a world transformed by global movements against racism and sexual harassment, we want to take Mid Life even further. We want to bring womxn in midlife and young adulthood together to discuss the shared spaces between them and explore misconceptions and confusions. We hope to capture brave, open, intergenerational conversations and use what womxn share with us to create a piece of audio art. The piece will ask the question what does it means to be a womxn today?”
We are issuing a call out to womxn across the generations to share their lived experiences with us, and help us create a new piece of audio work that explores the variety of womxn’s experiences.
We’d like to hear from womxn who:
- identify as a womxn, aged between 18 – 25 or over 40 years old
- have experienced strong emotions – desire, anxiety, joy, rage – and are prepared to share in an empathetic creative space
- want to explore what it means to be a womxn in our society, in the body they’re in
All womxn’s stories are valuable, but it’s time for those missing in the wider conversation to be heard. We’re particularly hoping to hear from those who:
- are a woman of colour
- are D/deaf and/or disabled
- belong to the LGBTQ+ community
If you’d like to take part, please email [email protected] before July 22nd, 2021, and tell us your age and a bit about how your life experience connects with the themes outlined.
We’ll invite a small selection of different people to join together in 2-hour online conversations during the week beginning 9th August 2021.