The VAULT Festival is coming to town! From January 24th to March 18th, over three hundred new shows explode across a festival of festivals in their Waterloo home. With new venues, new bars, new food and plenty of surprises, VAULT 2018 is the biggest, fairest platform in London for artists to present innovative, daring work. Here we have a chat with Imogen Butler-Cole about her piece for the #MeToo movement, Foreign Body.
1 in 3 of our women have survived sexual violence. We are all affected and we are all responsible. In the wake of the #MeToo movement people are finally waking up to this fact as reality and realising we are all part of the conversation. It is affirming that this movement has taken shape when I have been on the road with Foreign Body for a year. The culture and conversation have caught up with us.
Foreign Body is a solo performance about healing after sexual assault. It incorporates physical theatre, testimonial recordings and an original soundtrack to tell my own story, that of the perpetrator of one of my assaults and those of eight other survivors. We see the various forms that sexual assault can take and the way the most subtle or extreme cases can impact our lives. My hope is that the play sparks a conversation and points to the potential for healing and growth after assault.
After every show I host a panel discussion with other survivors, campaigners and support workers. We have a magnificent team of panelists for VAULT including Broadly’s Sirin Kale; On Road Media founder Nathalie McDermott; Dr Nina Burrowes, a prominent campaigner on sexual violence and Lucy-Anne Holmes who created No More Page 3. Panel discussions will variously look at the psychology of recovery, the portrayal of sexual violence in the media and activism around sexual assault. The conversations also focus on self-care and ensuring audience members know how to take care of themselves in the event that the play triggers their personal trauma. One of the rewards of performing this play is modelling the fact that I can be powerful as a survivor. I want other survivors to leave the play feeling inspired and uplifted about their recovery and for others to consider their place within the culture.
Foreign Body runs at the VAULT Festival from the 7th-11th of March at 18:00. Ticket and more information can be found here.