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Third Angel &
Sheffield Theatres present

PARTUS


Lisa had been for a walk in the park
Stacey had borrowed her best friend’s dress
Rachael was ready for a fight
Linda was on call
And Lucy only just made it…

Different women from different backgrounds, all brought together on one night for a birth-day they’ll never forget.

We call it a miracle and we go weak at the knees at the sight of a new baby. But we don’t really talk about the birth. Partus celebrates the amazing women who go through this life changing experience and come out the other side a mother. Using real birth stories collected over 2 years of research we talk about the dads and the doulas, and the small army of midwives and obstetricians working impossible hours in difficult situations.

If you’ve had sex, or a baby, or if you are even remotely considering having either, this is a show you ought to see. Join Third Angel on a rollercoaster ride through joy, hilarity, fear and sheer bloody mindedness with songs, dance, stories and cups of tea.

Absolutely stunning • fantastically well written/improvised, acted and put together • incredibly touching • essential viewing for midwives, birth professionals & parents • Covered the joy, sadness and the madness of birth. Absolutely brilliant! • refreshing, funny and emotional • Brilliant – best theatre I’ve been to •  I chose to come to the baby-friendly performance which added an amazing atmosphere •  Wonderful. A must see. • Ground-breaking and done with sympathy, humour and charm • Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!  I love that you talk about women’s stories, that they matter.

Audience Responses, 2016/17

Original Production Photos by Helena Dolby

Credits

Third Angel shows are made through a collaborative devising process. Everyone involved has their own area of expertise and responsibility, but the process is one of conversation and discussion, and so everyone contributes, to a greater or lesser extent, to other aspects of production. The final show is devised by the whole team.

Devised and Performed by:
Lucie Dowling
Laura Lindsay
Fiona Paul
Denise Pitter
Stacey Sampson 
Rachael Walton

Composer and Sound Designer
Heather Fenoughty

Stage Designer
Bethany Wells

Lighting Designer
Katherine Williams

Technical Manager
Louise Gregory

Dramaturg
Alexander Kelly

The original production of Partus was also devised by
Selina Thompson

General Manager
Hilary Foster

Administration & Production Trainees
Liz Johnson &
Ellie Whittaker

Marketing
Joanna Jowett &
Gail Cooke

Programme Note

The text of Partus is largely inspired by a series of interviews we have carried out since 2015 with mums, dads, midwives and obstetricians. On the whole these interviews have started with the question ‘What image comes to mind when you think about birth?’ and ended with ‘Can you sum up your experience in five words?’. In between those two questions — or prompts for thinking — we have been privileged to hear remarkable stories of extraordinary experiences, told with humour, honesty and great strength.

The interviewees have all been incredibly generous with their time, and open and honest about their experiences. We have been given far too many stories to fit in to a single show (unless we do the 12 hour version we’ve been talking about…) but every one of them has influenced the shape and content of the show you will see today. Quite simply the show wouldn’t exist without the generosity of those contributors, so a huge, huge thank you to them — they know who they are.

**

Before I had a baby, I have to admit I didn’t contemplate birth very much. I suppose in my mind it was something that happened to ‘other people’. I believed the images in the movies I saw of women screaming and sweating and holding onto things very tight.

I don’t think that now, this project has changed my mind. Don’t get me wrong; there often is the screaming and a lot of pain and occasionally chaos. But I can now see the resilience of women, the strength, the bravery and the love. Children are being born everyday, women are going through life changing and at times life threatening experiences and I think we ought to talk about it and celebrate it.

For me birth has also become political. There are not enough midwives in this country and as a consequence the ones we have are under enormous stress, as is the whole system. In certain parts of the country, women have to bring their passports with them when in labor because they have a different coloured skin. Paperwork absorbs huge parts of a midwife’s day and fear of litigation is always there.

We really do need to talk about birth and hope tonight starts that conversation for you. Thanks for coming.

Thank you for coming. We hope you enjoy the show. If you would like to talk about it afterwards please come and find us.

Rachael Walton, 2017

Credits

  • Partus is a co-production between Third Angel and Sheffield Theatres.
  • Partus began life as the show Labour Intensive which was commissioned by the University of Derby as part of The Birth Project, a two year research project looking at how various art forms can explore the experiences of birth and mutual recovery. 
  • Research project, Cause & Effect, was commissioned by Leeds Library as part of the WordPlay Project, part-curated by Dep Arts.
  • Whilst making Partus, we ran ‘The Young Mums Project‘ in collaboration with the Young Women’s Housing Project and supported by Lloyds Bank Community Fund.

Partus 2017 image by Joseph Priestly.

Further Information and Support

The Association for Post Natal Illness
020 7386 0868
Provides support to mothers with postnatal depression.

Birth Trauma Association
Support for women who have experienced traumatic childbirth, and their partners.

The Breastfeeding Companion
Breastfeeding tips & advice for struggling mothers.

The Breastfeeding Network
helpline: 0300 100 0212
Support and information, including information on drugs and breastfeeding.

NCT
0300 330 0700
The National Childbirth Trust is the UK’s largest charity for parents. Its website and helpline offer practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

PANDAS
Information and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem during or after pregnancy.

PND & Me
Online network connecting people with experience of perinatal mental health problems through twitter.

SANDS
Stillbirth and neonatal death charity, providing information and support for anyone affected by these issues.

Start4Life
Information on pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenthood from the NHS.

Tommy’s
Support and information on pregnancy, including mental health problems.

MIND
For better mental health.

Touring Archive

25 Oct 2017, 11:00
Theatre Delicatessen Sheffield
24 Oct 2017, 19:30
Theatre Delicatessen Sheffield
21 Oct 2017, 10:30
Warwick Arts Centre
20 Oct 2017, 20:00
Warwick Arts Centre
19 Oct 2017, 10:30
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
18 Oct 2017, 19:30
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
07 Oct 2017, 10:00
Square Chapel Halifax
06 Oct 2017, 20:00
Square Chapel Halifax
28 Sep 2017, 19:30
Cornerstone Didcot
26 Sep 2017, 19:30
Gloucester Guildhall
13 Apr 2017, 19:30
The CIVIC, Barnsley
13 Apr 2017, 10:30
The CIVIC, Barnsley
23 Mar 2017, 10:30
Colchester Arts Centre
22 Mar 2017, 20:00
Colchester Arts Centre
17 Mar 2017, 10:30
South Street, Reading
16 Mar 2017, 20:00
South Street, Reading
03 Mar 2017, 19:30
PREMA Arts Centre, Uley
01 Mar 2017, 10:30
ARC Stockton
28 Feb 2017, 19:00
ARC Stockton

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