No. 9 is a tongue-in-cheek yet deadly-serious look at the complexities and contradictions of dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault.
Following a survivor’s story in the days, months and years post-assault, this debut play by Anna Robinson (Becoming a Karen, 5 Signs You’re Becoming a P.R*C.K, BBC Laugh Lessons; Feast, BBC Short in collaboration with New Writing North; Stage Design: When This is Over, Mortal Fools) aims to raise awareness of the impact of trauma, as well as the lack of a societal ‘toolbox’ for responding to survivors of sexual assault.
While the prevention of sexual assault is widely discussed, No. 9 highlights the lack of focus on long-term support for survivors. No. 9 turns a mirror on a society that is ill-equipped to respond in the aftermath of trauma and, in particular, the language that is used to support survivors. Based on a true story, and presented in co-production with Alphabetti Theatre, No. 9 is inspired by the reactions a survivor received when they discussed their assault.
The play, directed by Paula Penman (Donna Disco, Live Theatre; Brown Bird, Bush Theatre), will examine the language we reach for in a time of crisis, aiming to put an end to trite promises of ‘silver linings’.
No. 9 encourages its audience to be an active and positive force in support and recovery, no matter how hard it is to find the right words. The production laughs at absurdities and dances in the face of shame and fear; singing catchy tunes and introducing wacky characters in fabulous outfits, all in the search for a better thing to say to a survivor.
Robinson comments, I really feel like the show we’ve created addresses the issues with a fearless delicacy and a sharp wit. These are really important times in terms of women’s safety and the way the world interrogates assault and healing. It’s a scary but humbling experience having this platform and time to explore it. It’s such a relief to finally be able to get audiences to see and hear the story that I’ve been itching to tell.
Programming surrounding No. 9 includes after-show discussions led by a psychotherapist exploring the subjects of the play and allowing audiences to engage in discussion sparked by its themes. Alphabetti Theatre will also be running workshops with local community groups focussing on processing emotion through writing.