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Bureau of Investigative Journalism announces one-woman show to find new audiences for local reporting on domestic violence

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is putting on a one-woman show which has been informed by the findings of its local journalist collaborators.

The spoken-word show, called Refuge Woman, is inspired by true events and tells stories about domestic violence and the varying refuge provisions from women across the UK.

It is inspired by the reporting of 20 local journalists and volunteers who collectively investigated cuts to domestic violence provision across the country.

They found funding for refuges had been cut by 24 per cent since 2010 with more than 1,000 women and children turned away from refuges in six months alone last year.

Maeve McClenaghan, investigative journalist and producer of the tour, said: “This is an exciting and ambitious way to bring these vital, important stories by local journalists to new audiences across the country, sparking debate along the way.

“Refuge Woman is a powerful and moving piece of theatre which will be the perfect introduction to a deeper conversation about how and why refuge provision varies across the country, with local journalists and experts exploring the situation in their area.”

Refuge Woman will be performed in cities which have been most affected by the cuts to refuges, including Norwich, Lancaster and Birmingham and a 40-minute talk will follow each performance, as local journalists prevent the findings of their investigation with the Bureau.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism worked alongside playwright and performer Cash Carraway to produce the show.

Carraway has first-hand experience of living in a refuge and was included in the Bureau’s investigative reporting series on domestic violence after the ceiling of her refuge collapsed.

She said: “I really want to write a piece of theatre that highlights the devastating effects of government cuts to women’s services and provides a realistic snapshot of what life is really like for women fleeing domestic violence in modern Britain.

“I decided to draw upon some of my own experiences of living in a refuge because I was keen to give a visceral and truthful perspective of the complexities and stigma that many survivors of domestic violence face.

“I’m very excited to be developing Refuge Woman with the Bureau and to be taking the show to the communities most affected by the cuts.”

The show, directed by Conrad Murray, will tour in Norwich, Lancaster, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Byline Festival, Carlisle and London between 14 July and 8 November.

Picture: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism/ Juliet Nagillah

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