The North Wall Arts Centre and Oxfordshire Theatre Makers today announce the finalist of this year’s Propeller programme. Oxford-based writer Zena Forster’s play after birth will be developed as part of a two-week residency at The North Wall this summer. The play has been written in partnership with Action Postpartum Psychosis and Oxford University’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, and supported by TORCH funding. It is a life-affirming survival story rooted in real life testimonies of women who experienced psychosis after the birth of their babies.
Armed only with her light entertainment repertoire, ex-holiday camp crooner and new mum Ann must escape annihilation on a medieval plague island and save herself and her baby from the evil Doctor Doom. Who says being a mum is easy? after birth is a tragi-comic take on the challenges that all mothers face and asks us to think about how we need to nurture the nurturers.
Directed by Grace Duggan (Wood, Vault Festival 2019), and produced by Emma Dolman, after birth will be staged at The North Wall from 4th – 6th June 2020.
after birth playwright Zena Forster said: “I was thrilled to hear after birth had been chosen from amongst so many superb Oxfordshire theatre makers’ productions. I had an audience like the North Wall’s very much in mind when I wrote after birth and have sought to create the kind of strong and funny female voice and story that I have seen them appreciate in productions like It’s True, It’s True, It’s True and at Hollie McNish’s recent sell-out gig. Thank you North Wall and OTM – Propeller will give this new work a real boost.”
Gill Jaggers of the Oxfordshire Theatre Makers Steering Committee said: “There are many new and emerging, as well as established companies and artists based in our county, and a scheme like this is a great opportunity. The OTM and North Wall partnership offers the successful production the chance to be rehearsed, refined and performed ready to take an Oxfordshire-made show round the country and on to greater things.”
John Hoggarth, co-director of The North Wall Arts Centre, said: “The Propeller scheme is the perfect opportunity for us to really get to know local theatre-makers whilst finding practical ways to support their development. We are aware that there are many brilliant companies and artists in the region who all deserve to have their work seen by a much wider audience- Propeller provides one way of helping a company fulfil its potential. We are delighted to be programming after birth as this year’s chosen Propeller production and hope it will help the creatives behind this fantastic play to realise their ambitions.”
The Propeller scheme is a joint initiative between The North Wall and Oxfordshire Theatre Makers, to offer Oxfordshire artists the opportunity to develop and stage new work. Launched in 2019, Oxford-based Black-led theatre company Kuumba Nia Arts were the first artists to take part, with their production SOLD, which went on to win an award at the Edinburgh Fringe.