Aizah Khan and Dorcas Sebuyange star in I told my Mum I was going on an R.E. trip…  a striking production which delves into the sensitive world of abortion.

Following hit success in on stage at Contact in Manchester, the Contact and 20 Stories High co-production “I told my mum I was going on an R.E. trip…”  aired on BBC Two, 20th January as part of the Performance Live strand of programmes.

“I told my Mum I was going on an R.E. trip…” is a frank drama told through the voices of four young female performers, based on interview material gathered from over 50 different people; including young women who have had abortions, young parents, health professionals, and campaigners. These stories are interwoven with song and spoken word to portray the real experiences of these women.

The show deals with challenging themes but filmed on the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of abortion in Britain, writer Julia Samuels explores the way in which society treats this subject and how this impacts on women today. And importantly asks what would happen if we started to talk openly about it?

This TV production for Performance Live uses the theatre technique of recorded delivery, where the actors listen to the real recorded interviews through earphones and repeat the words as they hear them, bringing the audience as close to the truth behind the words as possible. Featuring interviewees from Great Britain and Northern Ireland and beyond, we meet health professionals, women, men and young people on all sides of the debate.

Importantly a number of medical professionals and academics such as Dr Jayne Kavanagh (Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL) were embedded in the piece’s development process, as consultants and collaborators on the project to ensure its accuracy.

Julia Samuels, writer, said:

“The experience of having an abortion is such a taboo in society, and many women feel that they have to keep it a secret. We are pleased to be able to share these stories far and wide, and help combat the stigma around something that happens to 1 in 3 British women in their lifetimes.”

The production has been directed for Performance Live by Lindy Heymann, who won a BIFA (Best Directorial Debut) for her film Showboy. Lindy recently co-wrote and directed the short film The Laughing King, which premiered at the LSFF where she was nominated for Best Female Director. The film has been released online and is used to raise funds for CALM, the mental health charity. Lindy has experience of directing music videos with artists such as Take That, The Charlatans, Suede and Faithless – this is her first experience of directing theatre for television.

Director of Photography Deepa Keshvala has worked closely with young directors and has experience capturing a wide spectrum of real environments and people. She has worked on several award-winning projects such as Honda (The Other Side), Paolo Nutini (Iron Sky) and an iconic John Lewis Christmas campaign (The Man on the Moon).


Catch I told my Mum I was going on an R.E. trip… on BBC iPlayer Now

[1] – Read our #TBB10 interview with Dorcas Sebuyange about her time on the tour of the play – http://thebritishblacklist.co.uk/tbb10-with-dorcas-sebuyange-taking-a-break-from-her-r-e-trip/