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
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:
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, the Feminist Review Trust, Islington Council and others.
"Tackling the power dynamics of sex ... leads to rich, unsettling drama ... skilfully crafted and wittily observed" - Sally Stott (The Scotsman)
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)