Child Marriage in the UK Uncovered in New Play at the Hen and Chickens
New young writer/director AJ presents his first play, AISHA, which through rhythmic verse, heavily influenced by contemporary spoken word, discusses the practice and repercussions of child marriage; a practice still perpetrated in the UK, with the Home Office estimating that between 5,000 and 8,000 young people a year are at risk.AISHA is about an underage girl forced by her parents to marry a 51-year-old man at the age of 14. Aisha is sold in exchange for an expensive dowry, a dowry that Aisha's parents use to better themselves and abandon their daughter: an act justified by cultural and religious traditions. The man that Aisha is forced to marry and live with is sadistic and abusive. She is forbidden to leave the house; communicate with the outside world; shower or bathe herself on a regular basis; and is denied every human right. Aisha is bound to domestic duty and forced to submit to any sexual act her husband wishes to bestow upon her. How will she continue to cope? The cast includes Alexander Lincoln (MMBF 'Rising Star' 2016), Olivia Valler-Feltham (Mountview), Ayo Oyelakin (Actors Temple and Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop, http://www.anthonymeindl.com/) and Sabrina Richmond (Acting for Film Conservatory, New York), and the theatrical debut of second-year University student Laura Adebisi, who plays the now 17-year-old titular role. 25-year-old writer, director and producer AJ, was raised in South East London, Woolwich. He says: "I strive to create unconventional and thought-provoking work that audience members can deeply engage with. Theatre should be and can be used as a medium to transform society. Aisha is a clear representation of this; I chose to artistically portray the grave effect child marriage can have on a child, in hope that the conveying of this will bring to light a social-ill that is somehow dangerously overlooked."Production Company AILIA is creating a new theatre for radical, free-spirited artists; and the open-minded spectator. A large percentage of the box office sales from AISHA will be donated to certain forced marriage, child marriage, and child sexual exploitation charitable organisations.