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The Refuge Play – A Beyond Walls Project with Danusia Iwaszko

Posted on: 31st October, 2019

Danusia Iwaszko, Writer

Annie Munson, Former CEO Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre Ltd

Judith Grandi, Former Trustee Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre Ltd

Lucinda Meredith, Beyond Walls Producer


‘We are more than excited to welcome Associate Artist Danusia Iwaszko (The Wisdom Club – Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds 2018) to Beyond Walls back to create a new script based on women’s experience of domestic violence. In the UK, one in four women experience domestic violence and, on average, two women die each week at the hands of a partner or ex-partner – untold more to suicide, self-harm and addictions developed as a response to their experience.

Theatre Royal is thrilled to continue its five-year relationship with women survivors of domestic violence and Women’s Aid staff and volunteers through the Beyond Walls programme. Running alongside this new commission, Theatre Royal will continue to run a series of creative expression workshops and engagement opportunities for women and children to access theatre, arts and culture and benefit from the creative process.’

Lucinda Meredith, Beyond Walls Producer & Associate Artist Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds





‘It was lovely to see the audience totally genuinely interested. Engaging, not fidgeting. Being able to tell your story is a really important thing. Sometimes, in bad times you forget who you are.’

Participant, Survivors of Domestic Violence 2015



I have done this work for many years and have seen many women with many stories but when I saw this performance on stage, it is one of the most powerful things I have seen in my time at the refuge.

Annie Munson, Former CEO Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Ltd 2017



This project has saved my life. Instead of it all inside of me, all the pain, the memories and the thoughts, I can write them down, get it out of my head and heart.

Participant, Survivors of Domestic Violence 2016



Better than therapy…The actors brought everything to life and helped me deal with what had happened to me and really process what happened.’ … ‘It saved my life.

Suffolk Community Foundation 2017



I am delighted to have this commission to write the first draft of a play based on my experience of working with women in refuge. This is the culmination of four years of running writing workshops to help these women find and develop their voices. In the course of this work, I have learnt a great deal about lives and the events that lead up to women seeking refuge.

For me, one of the most important reasons to write this piece is to inform others about the complex reasons, the different backgrounds and indeed the different forms in which domestic violence against women manifests itself.

So, as with the beginning of all new plays, I am at the stage of trying to decide on the shape and style of the piece, creating the characters and deciding what exactly I want to use this platform to say. The aims of the BBC comes to mind, ‘to inform, entertain, educate and connect,’ and the most challenging element of those four for me when dealing with such painful subject matter, is ‘entertain’. Many would say that it’s not necessary for a piece of this kind or indeed not right to even think about entertainment when writing about such an issue. However, I don’t want to write a play that is bleak, painful and alienating, equally I think that just shocking an audience isn’t the desired result, so a different vehicle must be found to frame up this dark material so that it is accessible to an audience.’

Danusia Iwaszko, Writer & Associate Artist Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds



From Left to Right:

Lucinda Meredith, Judith Grandi, Danusia Iwaszko and Annie Munson.






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