All The Little Lights: child sexual exploitation laid bare

All The Little Lights poster
Original poster from 2017 production

We reviewed All the Little Lights in the March 2019 BJGP. A new production is on 12-17th August at the Tristan Bates Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe Season.

Lucy Mabbitt, one of the actors and co-producers in the three hander writes:

The story, told by award winning playwright Jane Upton, follows three young girls; two are survivors of child sexual exploitation and the other is vulnerable to exposure. One of the girls is also a perpetrator of abuse. The play is written from the girls’ perspective and provides an amazing insight into patterns of abusive behaviour, which we think is a clear and valuable way to help audiences empathise with those in that position.

By performing this piece we hope the audience will have a more nuanced and critical understanding of young people who have experienced child sexual exploitation (CSE), and be equipped to help spot signs and work to protect those at risk.The piece works to help us empathise with not only victims but young perpetrators like the central character Joanne, of which 28% are under 18 and are often misunderstood, disregarded in the national discourse about CSE and left without support or protection. Our production is largely about the importance of listening, and the perils of living in a society where we do not look out for each other.

We are working with care support professionals on a number of points for the project. This includes Safe and Sound, the Derby based charity who work to fight child sexual exploitation and who were involved in the original development of the play at the Nottingham Playhouse in 2015, as well as local charities and services in Camden who work with children, parents and carers affected by CSE.

This is in order to understand the context of the play and its characters and be careful to achieve authenticity, better our goal for using the play as a productive piece of awareness raising, safeguard our audiences, and promote the show among their channels in order to bring in new audiences for whom this story might be relevant. This way, the project is more than just putting on a play.


Featured photo by Harris Ananiadis on Unsplash

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