This new drama has been commissioned by Together! 2012 CIC from our associate company Act Up! Newham, and is supported by a Project Grant from Arts Council England. Written and directed by Trevor Lloyd together with the Company, ‘When You See Me’ is inspired by the Circus 250 anniversary.
Outside the colour and spectacle of the Big Top, so-called freaks and marvels were exhibited to lure in the audience. Always on display, but never really part of the show. But now all that has changed – or has it? When an online date goes horribly wrong, Tessa – a young disabled woman of today – is confronted by a sideshow as old as Circus itself. She comes face-to-face with the darker side of history.
The Leopard Woman – sold as a slave and tattooed for the desires of men!
Luna – abandoned to the Circus because she speaks with signs!
The Wild Man – forced to dress and act like a savage!
The World’s Oldest Woman – put on display even after her death!
Even the clowns aren’t laughing any more.
Tessa is taken on a journey through lifetimes of exploitation and exclusion. As we go with her, we discover that attitudes haven’t changed so much. Act Up! Newham’s bold and exciting new play shows that, for many people, Life is still a Circus – and the cages are still there.
The cast is drawn from locally based Disabled artists, none of whom identify as ‘White English’: Abdul Qureshi; Jade Sempare; Glory Sengo; Grace Fundu; Paizah Malek; Pritesh Patel; and Sterre Ploeger. There will be a short Q&A session at the end of the performance.
Stratford Circus 1, Theatre Square, Stratford, London E15 1BX