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Power Play Productions

Telling women's

stories with impact.

Power Play creates platforms for women to express their lived experiences, amplifying voices that are too often ignored. The stories we tell exist at cultural fault lines. They contain immense power: both in what they reveal, and in the act of speaking them. Impact informs both the production structures we set up and also how we approach telling the stories themselves: narrative and impact are inextricably linked, and grow together as each project develops. We have produced Fringe First award-winning, Offie-nominated theatre, video content that has reached hundreds of thousands, documentary films supported by Hot Docs, National Lottery, Arts Council England and others, and research and campaigns that have lead to changes in funding and monitoring from some of the UK's largest Arts organisations. In 2020, we were nominated for the DBACE Social Entrepreneurship Award. Our aim is to ask audiences to watch more attentively and compassionately, and empower them with the tools to demand change. 

"They echo the Guerrilla Girls, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger; feminist artists who have protested the injustices of the world through words" - Exeunt

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About

Ethos

We want to see the breadth of stories, lenses, gazes on stage and screen widen and combat the cultures of exclusivity in film and theatre. Our aim is to undo not reinforce barriers to access, so we aim to listen, collaborate, and be self-aware so we can de-centre ourselves. We (co-founders Polly and Sophie) think it is important to acknowledge our youth and privilege as White, middle class cis women, particularly when we're working in communities who have faced barriers we do not share. No matter the amount of dedicated research we do, we know we'll be guests in these communities. In all our projects, we aim to work with women as creative collaborators not 'subjects' and value their vision. We have developed the following procedures:

  • We will be alert to the material we'e dealing with, and be prepared to step aside if there is someone better placed to tell that story

  • When recruiting, we will prioritise applicants who have face barriers to access

  • We will pay participants in line with creative crew

  • We will create safe and fulfilling environments to work in, accommodating access needs

  • We will be as transparent and straight up

  • We will listen and learn

We're grateful to have worked with or been supported by:

We're grateful for the previous support or partnership of:

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Narrative

We aim to create dynamic, surprising platforms for women's stories of social injustice. Our work is often site-specific, and deals with themes of violence against women and female incarceration. In 2018, we commissioned and produced four new plays to be staged inside a domestic flat, exploring subjects of domestic violence and sexual assault, drawing on verbatim processes and workshops with charities including Tender (winning the Filipa Bragança Award for impact and Sit-Up nomination among accolades). In 2019 our play FUNERAL FLOWERS gained an Offie-nominated London Tour, co-Produced by us and Harts Theatre (Bunker, BGAC, Free Word. Later: Roundhouse). This play followed Angelique's dreams of floristry while she navigated the care system, inspired by the experiences of a former inmate of Holloway Prison. In 2019 we developed MARY MARY, drawing drew on witch trial testimonies, for a sell-out Run at The Cockpit.

 

We are currently working on feature documentary HOLLOWAY following a group of former prisoners returning to the abandoned Holloway prison as free women. This project is supported ACE, National Lottery Community Funds, Golden Bottle Trust, One Small Thing and others.

"Tackling the power dynamics of sex ... leads to rich, unsettling drama ... skilfully crafted and wittily observed" - Sally Stott (The Scotsman)

Activism

In 2018, we launched a project to overturn the 2-to-1 Problem: that the UK's best-funded theatres employ one woman for every two men. We developed print and online content with Adapt, events with The Pink Protest and were featured on The Guilty Feminist. In 2019 we launched the world's first multivariate analysis of gender in Fringe theatre, WOMEN ON THE FRINGES, released in The Scotsman, The Telegraph, The Stage. It was presented to ACE, who later unveiled a landmark new £2.5million Fringe Fund, and to The Fringe Society, who commissioned further research. In 2020 we co-produced #MyImageMyChoice a campaign to tell survivor stories of intimate image abuse. Our stories were featured in research by Oxford University's. Digital Ethics Lab, the UK Law Commission, Vogue, Sunday Times, supported by cross-parliamentary MPs and the APPG for Digital Regulation and Responsibility. We co-produced viral videos with NOW THIS.

 

We are currently part of the World Economic Forum's Advisory Committee on Digital Justice and the Future Fringe steering group, and will publish our second Fringe report in 2021.  

"We are proud to have worked closely with Power Play on this important piece of research" - Shona McCarthy (Fringe Society)

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Sophie is a British multidisciplinary storyteller and activist whose work amplifies the voices of women who have faced injustice. She works across mediums, according to the needs of the story - from co-directing a digital desktop-movie ANOTHER BODY to tell a story of deepfake abuse (selected for HotDocs dealmaker 2021, shortlisted for the Creative Capital Award 2020) to the immersive site-specific performance in a domestic space to express verbatim stories of sexual violence FUNERAL FLOWERS (Fringe First Award, Filipa Braganca Award, Offie nomination) to observational verité documentary HOLLOWAY following a Forum Theatre process inside the abandoned HMP Holloway (supported by Arts Council England). All her projects spring from women’s lived experiences, and are constructed around the needs of the women at their core. As Artistic Director of Power Play she has produced and/or directed six plays including MARY MARY, which had a sell-out run at The Cockpit. She has produced and/or directed installations and participatory performance pieces at Tate Modern, The Science Museum, V&A, Copeland Gallery. She started campaigns including #myimagemychoice and was invited to join the World Economic Forum’s Advisory Committee on Digital Justice. She trained in trauma-informed practice with Clean Break.
Sophie Compton
Co-Founder, Artistic Director

Team

Polly Creed is an award-winning director, writer, and activist. Her work focuses on themes of gender, social justice, and climate change. In 2020, she was shortlisted for the Old Vic 12 and the Royal Court writer's group. Polly is co-founder of Power Play and has produced and/or written plays with them including NEXT TIME (Sit Up Award Nominee) and THE EMPTY CHAIR. Polly's activist and theatrical work has been featured in various papers and platforms, including The Independent, The Scotsman, The Stage, and The Guilty Feminist podcast. Meanwhile her writing has been won Best New Writing at LSDF 2018. She has recently founded, True Name, a theatre company specialising in ecological and social theatre, and in July 2019 worked on a new collaboration with Plan B, the London College of Communication, Theatre 198 and The Tate, focusing on issues around climate change. The performance was staged at The Tate Modern. She is Arts and Outreach Ambassador for the Matchgirls Memorial. Her play 'Humane' will be performed in 2021 at the Pleasance Theatre and is published by Aurora Metro Books. It has been adapted as an audio drama series, hosted by The Arcola Theatre, The Omnibus Theatre, Compassion in World Farming, The Pleasance, and Theatre Deli Sheffield.
Polly Creed
Co-founder, Lead Producer
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