We are raising funds to put on a run of 'Humane' later this year, after its three-week run at the Pleasance was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
About the play
The play tells the incredible true story of women from 'Brightlingsea', a rural community in Essex. In 1995, the group blockaded their town against live animal export lorries, facing arrest and even police brutality. They went from being largely apolitical to being plunged into the centre of an international news story. The group spanned from pensioners in their 80s to schoolchildren and young mums with buggies in pushchairs.
It is a compelling story about community and activism, which feels increasingly urgent and pertinent in these troubled and uncertain times. It puts a diverse range of women's voices onstage, spanning different generations and backgrounds. It feels particularly important that the play champions the voice and agency of pensioners, during a time when over 70s have become increasingly isolated and hidden from public life and representation.
' a story with obdurate humanity' - spyinthestalls.com
Our Story: Ten Years of Work Derailed by COVID-19
Humane first began life over ten years ago, when set designer Daisy Blower and Polly Creed first began discussing the idea, while still at secondary school. Daisy's grandmother had been involved in the protests and they felt it was important to capture a story about their local community.
Over the last two years, we have worked tirelessly to get it onstage, carrying out several research and development sessions, readings and funding drives. For producers, Polly and Imy Wyatt Corner (who is also directing the play), it has been a passion project into which they have squeezed every last drop of energy and time.
Excitingly, we heard earlier last year that Pleasance Theatre wanted to include a three week run in their New Work Season for 2020. This was a dream come true for all of us, something we had been working towards for so long. More successes followed: we secured funding from Arts Council England and the Cockayne Foundation, and found our dream cast and creative team.
Until a few weeks ago, we were working hard to prepare for rehearsals and develop the script ready ahead of the run opening on 15 April.
Then, like for so many other productions across the performing arts, coronavirus derailed everything. Following a conversation with Pleasance Theatre, we realised that we had no option but to postpone the show. This was a heart-breaking decision for all involved.
The silver-lining is that Pleasance are offering us the chance to put on our run later this year.
We feel phenomenally lucky to be in the position, given the uncertain future facing so much of the theatre industry. We are all looking forward to getting the show on again and launching into rehearsals later in the year.
We have lost a sizeable chunk of money on things we can't reclaim, such as marketing and insurance. We are also facing financial uncertainty as a theatre company. We are therefore now looking at a large gap in our funding for the show.
We are therefore looking at raising £5500, which will make sure that we will be able to put this show on later in the year, and most importantly honour all our commitments to our cast and crew. In these uncertain times, it is of critical importance that we are able to support our freelancers and artists, as well as making sure we tell stories about the power of community and activism.
No donation is too small! Even £1 will help us towards our goal of making sure we get to tell this amazing true story and support the freelancers and creatives involved.
We realise that this is an incredibly stressful and difficult time for nearly everyone financially at the moment, so appreciate any support you are able to offer.
Thank you to Fiona Burton for this beautiful animated film about the play.