Herefordshire based theatre company Feral Productions presents Hush Now, a digital theatre production this March.
Adapted for the stage and screen from Feral’soriginal site-specific production, Hush Now is a piece of digital theatre giving voice and visibility to Herefordshire’s unmarried mothers who were stigmatised, silenced and hidden away in Mother and Baby homes across the county.
For 100 years, women across the world who found themselves pregnant, often through abuse, were sent away, effectively hidden and rehoused in a Mother and Baby Home.
To give voices to these ‘unheard’ women, Feral Productions collaborated with Ledbury poet Sara-Jane Arbury who turned archival research into verse. Her verses were then turned into theatrical songs by Olivia Preye and performed in Hereford in 2019 in a series of promenade performances across nine different locations.
“Hush Now is one of the most interesting and profoundly moving projects I have ever done.” says writer Sara-Jane Arbury, “The hidden history of Mother and Baby Homes in Herefordshire has been a revelation. I feel a tremendous responsibility in bringing some of the stories to light and giving these women and girls voices for us to hear today. The whole process has inspired me in so many ways and I hope the poems will stay in people’s thoughts for a long time to come.”
Hush Now comprises nine songs, each lifting the lid on the adversities faced by so many unmarried mothers and celebrating their resilience and tenacity during such traumatic experiences. The piece, although designed for the stage, will be filmed liveon The Courtyard’s main stage, and interspersedwith transitions of local footage. It will be premiered online via The Courtyard’s website on Saturday 13thMarch.
The project is then set to be transferred to the Black Country where it will be screened via theNewhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton on Saturday 20th March with local references and transitions.
The final leg of the Hush Now journey will see the creative team visit the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley. Each of the nine songs will be filmed on location and will be screened via the museum as part of its Hidden Histories on the 27thand 28th March.
A participatory element to the project will offerBlack Country residents the opportunity to take part in Creative Writing and Song Writing workshopswith Hush Now writer Sara-Jane Arbury and composer Olivia Preye.
Hush Now will premiere on Saturday 13th March via The Courtyard’s website with tickets being sold on a pay-what-you-can basis. For more information or to book tickets visit courtyard.org.uk.
Hush Now will also be available on Saturday 20thMarch via The Newhampton Arts Centre’s website and on Saturday 27th March via The Black Country Living Museum’s website.