Teenagers in Oxford to hit back with play about domestic abuse

The Oxford Times: Performing in the play about domestic violence are Hollie Messenger, Meghan Moulford and Lianne Spiers                  Picture: OX65586 Antony Moore Buy this photo Performing in the play about domestic violence are Hollie Messenger, Meghan Moulford and Lianne Spiers Picture: OX65586 Antony Moore

YOUNG people in Oxford are putting on a powerful play which deals with domestic abuse in relationships.

The performance of A Letter to Lacey by Mamma Mia! writer Catherine Johnson has been put together through a partnership between Oxford Playhouse National Theatre Connections Youth Group and Magdalen College School, where it will be performed.

A group of young people, between the ages of 15 and 19, who are involved with the Oxfordshire Association for Young People (OAYP) are performing the show next week.

Director Alice Malin said the play is shocking but also allowed the subject to be discussed in a contemporary way.

She said: “It is very interesting that a lot of people normally think domestic abuse is something which primarily happens to married or older couples and is behind closed doors.

“But statistics show it is prevalent in young people between the ages of 14 and 20.

“What we have done with this is look at how it affects young women in particular, although it is not always about them.

“It shows how easy it is to fall into these situations and the play can be quite shocking.”

Hollie Messenger, 18, from Abingdon, said: “The play has been such fun and taught us the fact that abuse in relationships can start young – it’s not just adults who go through it.”

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Lianne Spiers, 16, from Blackbird Leys, said: “I have learned that sometimes abusive relationships are hard to gain the courage to walk away from and stand up against.”

Meghan Moulford, 16, from Cutteslowe, said: “Being part of A Letter to Lacey has pulled me up from some of my darkest moments immersing me into a whirl of friendship, inspiration and knowledge. I’ve loved every second.”

In the play, Kara is a young woman on a mission.

She’s writing a letter to her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend, Lacey, to warn her about the abuse she suffered at his hands.

While writing the letter, she replays the relationship in her memory, from the exhilarating first date to the dark days during which she felt powerless.

The National Theatre Connections each year commissions new plays for and about young people from contemporary playwrights, for performance by schools and youth theatres across the country.

Tickets are available to the public. There will be two performances, on March 4 and 5, at 7.30pm at the school, in Cowley Place, Oxford.

  • The play is suitable for anyone over the age of 15. Adult tickets cost £4, and concessions are £2. To book, email producer Ashleigh Wheeler on ashleigh.r.wheeler@gmail.com

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