Experiences Of Female Imprisonment Exposed In Fuel Theatre's LOCK HER UP
As the UK marks the centenary of women's victory in the fight for suffrage, for which hundreds of women were imprisoned, Fuel presents three specially commissioned sound installations exploring different aspects of female incarceration. Working with leading academics on the history of women's imprisonment at the University of Warwick and award-winning sound designer Gareth Fry, whose recent work includes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the West End and Broadway, Fuel will present the installations at a week-long exhibition at Tate Modern before touring the UK (dates tbc) and being made available online as a podcast series.
Each commission in the project has been created in collaboration with a different female performance maker: Rachel Mars, who explores women's experience of solitary confinement and mental health, Paula Varjack, who responds to the history of women's resistance against institutional control from the Suffragettes to the modern day and Sabrina Mahfouz, who addresses the pressing subject of maternity and motherhood in prison.
The sound installations will be on display from 12th - 17th June as part of Warwick University Tate Exchange Exhibition, themed around The Production of Truth, Justice and History, before touring to venues later in the year. The Tate Exchange is an annual programme hosted by Tate galleries that brings together International Artists, over 60 partners who work within and beyond the arts and audiences to test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art.
Sabrina Mahfouz, who has been named a 'modern Renaissance woman' by The Scotsman, is a writer, editor and performance maker whose work includes the plays With a Little Bit of Luck (Paines Plough) and Clean (Traverse Theatre), which transferred to New York in 2014. She received a Fringe First Award for her play Chef. She is the editor of the literary anthology The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write (Saqi Books), which is currently longlisted for the Grand Prix Literary Associations Prize, and her own poetry work has won a Sky Arts Academy Award and been produced and performed on TV, radio and film. She is currently working with Cambridge University Philosophy Department to write poetry around consent and is the librettist for an opera adaptation of Woman at Point Zero (Royal Opera House/Shubbak/Aldeburgh).
Rachel Mars is a performance maker and writer with a background in theatre, live art and comedy. Her work focuses on politics, society, identity and heritage. She performs both solo and in collaboration with a range of artists, including nat tarrab as mars.tarrab, winner of the 2017 Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. She won a Total Theatre Award for her play Our Carnal Hearts. Her recent commissions have included The Junction, Cambridge; Royal Court Tottenham; Fuel Theatre; Home Live Art and Ovalhouse. She is also fellow at the Birkbeck Centre of Contemporary Theatre and is a regular contributor to 'Pause for Thought' on BBC Radio 2.
Paula Varjack is a writer, filmmaker and performance maker whose work explores identity, the unsaid, and making the invisible visible, often combining performance, theatre, documentary and spoken word. She has performed at numerous arts festivals and cultural spaces including Glastonbury Festival, Berlin International Literature Festival, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Battersea Arts Centre, The Southbank Centre. She is the creator of the Anti-Slam, a satirical take on Poetry Slams where the lowest score wins.
Lock Her Up is commissioned by the University of Warwick as part of 'Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000'. This Wellcome funded project undertakes research into topics that resonate with current concerns in the prison service, including the very high incidence of mental health problems amongst prisoners, the health of women and maternity services in prison, and responses to addiction and HIV/AIDS. The research, led by Professor Hilary Marland (University of Warwick) and Associate Professor Catherine Cox (University of Dublin) straddles the period from the start of the modern prison system in the mid-nineteenth century up to the present day, and compares the provision of medical services and notions of the entitlement of prisoners to health in both England and Ireland. More information available at histprisonhealth.com
Fuel produces an adventurous, playful and significant programme of work - live, digital, and across art forms - for a large and representative audience across the UK and beyond. We collaborate with outstanding artists with fresh perspectives and approaches who seek to explore our place in the world, expose our fears, understand our hopes for the future, create experiences which change us and in turn empower us to make change in the world around us. Fuel was founded in 2004 and is led by Kate McGrath. From a base at Somerset House, London, Fuel works locally, nationally and internationally to develop, create and distribute new work to the widest possible audience. Fuel is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, and a registered charity.
Fuel is currently working with artists including: Will Adamsdale, Hema Palani, Encounter, Inua Ellams, Lewis Gibson, Gyre & Gimble, Nick Makoha, Sound&Fury, Racheal Ofori, Frauke Requardt, David Rosenberg, Andy Smith, Melly Still, Uninvited Guests and Melanie Wilson.