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Raising Shame

A city of young people, all with the same secret. But when did private become so shameful?

“Showcasing the commodification and politicisation of our bodies, Raising Shame punctuates hard-hitting stories with absurd comedy, leaving us privy to moments of solidarity, groaning with cringe, and leaving the show as allies, soulmates even.”

— NARC Magazine

Raising Shame presents the real-life experiences of Newcastle’s youth to challenge the stigma of menstruation and its brutal relationship with poverty and other challenges facing young people today. The North East is one of the UK’s regions most affected by period poverty, at the hands of which many young people do not have access to period protection, support, or education. As we struggle through the COVID pandemic, this problem has only deepened. For young people growing up in this region, their experiences of period stigma, poverty, and relationships and sex, are often intertwined. This show navigates the challenging relationship between menstruation, poverty, gender identity, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, bullying, and sexual health. It provides menstruation education that smashes stigma and myth. It challenges the body-shaming and gender stereotyping culture rooted in today’s digital world. It supports young people to understand the broader political and social contexts of their experiences of period poverty and stigma. Most importantly, this show empowers its young audiences to stand up side by side, and accept one another.

 

Following a sell-out tour at Byker Community Centre, Northern Stage, and Benfield School, BRASH is now re-launching this show for educational settings to support the new RSE curriculum. 

 

This show can also be booked for your theatre venue, make an enquiry for more information! 

“It was beautiful. Gave resources to so many different people and problems that so many people didn’t know existed. Thank you.”

— Student, Benfield School

The Department for Education’s Statutory Guidance states that…

  •  Puberty including menstruation should be addressed to ensure pupils are prepared for changes they and their peers will experience. Pupils should be taught key facts about the menstrual cycle including what is an average period, range of menstrual products and the implications for emotional and physical health.

  • Schools should make adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls prepare for and manage menstruation specific to their cohort of pupils' needs.

  • Schools should be alive to issues such as everyday sexism, misogyny, homophobia and gender stereotypes and take positive action to build a culture where these are not tolerated.

  • Sexual orientation and gender identity should be explored in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner. It must be recognised that young people may be discovering or understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

  • Grooming, sexual exploitation and domestic abuse should be addressed sensitively and clearly. Schools should address the physical and emotional damage caused by female genital mutilation (FGM).

  • Pupils should be taught that there are a range of strategies for identifying and managing sexual pressure.

Raising Shame comprehensively supports young people to explore all of these issues, helping schools to fulfill the statutory guidance. 

Did you know?

“I think the play was really good because they told me how to speak up and say what I think in my mind. Thank you."

— Student, Benfield School

The Show

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The show is developed through field research with Newcastle young people to provide relevant, bold and educational content to support RSE learning.

Workshops

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We have 2 tailor-made workshops for pupils and teachers. The pupils' workshop uses discussion and interactive character-led activities to enable pupils to further explore and process personal experiences, collaboratively develop mutual understanding, develop knowledge about issues covered in the show that are new to them, and learn where to find support. 

The teachers' workshop will use discussion based interactive activities to help teachers identify the roots of period stigma in school and to collaboratively develop strategies for tackling stigma. The workshop will also provide training on period poverty proofing their classrooms, and will assist teachers to develop bespoke methods for supporting pupils with their periods.

Lessons Plans

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Lessons plans can be used to follow up on the BRASH visit with activities that use characters' stories as a basis for further learning on the RSE topics covered in the show and workshops.

“The facilitator quickly established trust to enable the group to open up about their experiences and anxieties around period shame. The students thoroughly enjoyed the work she did with them. As a school we all really enjoyed the first-class, high quality production, made with real voices!”

— Teacher, Benfield School

Raising Shame was originally commissioned as part of a wider social action project, ‘Project M’ run by Streetwise Young People’s Project. This project was set up to fight period poverty in Newcastle by allowing young people to access free period products discreetly by visiting Streetwise and getting an ‘M-Card’. The service has been designed by young people for young people, and is inclusive and supportive. Anyone aged 11-25 is eligible and can get advice on issues relating to their periods. 

 

With thanks to Arts Council England, City of Dreams, and Virgin Money Foundation for their support of this project.

Writer & Director – Bethan Kitchen 

Produced – Lydia Brickland 

Sound Designer – Roma Yagnik

Movement Director – Vivian Wood 

Production Manager – Andrea Arnold 

Technical Assistant – Aaron Martin 

Dramaturgy – Matilda Neill

Publicity – Natalie Price 

 

Cast:

Sarah Boulter

Brogan Gilbert 

Wambui Hardcastle

Melody Sproates

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