Toxteth theatre group in TV spotlight

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Advert for the production ‘I Told My Mum I Was Going on an R.E. Trip’. Pic © 20 Stories High

A Merseyside theatre group has received excellent reviews for a live performance which was aired on the BBC.

Production company ’20 Stories High’ is based in Toxteth, and a play which was co-produced alongside Manchester ensemble, ‘Contact’, was aired on BBC Two last month.

The live performance, entitled ‘I Told My Mum I Was Going on an R.E. Trip’, highlighted the issue of abortion to mark 50 years since its legalisation in the UK.

The plot tells the stories of more than 50 people, including young parents, those who have had abortions, plus health professionals, as different opinions emerge.

Co-artistic director at 20 Stories High, Julia Samuels, wrote and produced the play that has taken to the stage across the country.

She said: “The idea came to me when I had a conversation with an actor working with us at the theatre – and in the conversation I mentioned that I had had an abortion in my 20s and I noticed that he looked really shocked.

“It made me realise it’s not something people generally talk about, so we brought the idea of a play focusing on the issue at our youth theatre and the people there were really passionate about it.”

YouTube: 20 Stories High TV

According to the British Pregnancy Advisory, one in three women have an abortion by the age of 45, yet it is still a topic that stirs emotions and impassioned debate on all sides.

Julia, 44, has been pleased to reach so many people with national television exposure, especially with the play focusing on such a sensitive issue.

She said: “It’s great performing on stage and to meet audiences, but once it made it to television, the audience is so much bigger – so I think that’s something we’re all still digesting.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have now seen it, so that’s very exciting for us. We’re so happy the story is out in the public domain because it’s something that we think is usually so hidden.”

The show is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until February 20th, and more information about the Toxteth group is available on their website.

About Jack Butler, JMU Journalism