Catherine Cranfield tells us all about Flushed coming to the Park Theatre
Tell us in your own words what Flushed is about
Flushed is about two sisters navigating the highs and lows of their early twenties, who find themselves confronted with a diagnosis of premature ovarian insufficiency.
The older sister, Marnie, is diagnosed at the age of 25, where she is told that the physical changes she is experiencing are in fact a result of premature menopause, and that she is unable to have children in the ‘typical’ way.
Through a series of toilet chats, the two sisters unpack this life-altering news (along with a host of hilarious and highly relatable bathroom-based scenarios!)
Ultimately, I would say that Flushed is a play about sisterhood, motherhood, womanhood, and toilets.
What inspired the show?
The show was initially inspired by all of the weird and wonderful conversations I’ve shared with other women in various different bathrooms. It’s a truly unique space which seems to regularly double up as a confessional, a therapy room, a makeup studio, you name it! I think that the actual function of the ladies’ toilets seems to be their least important purpose.
But as the play developed into an investigation of attitudes towards women’s health, and more specifically into an exploration of POI, I became inspired and motivated by the women who were generous enough to share their personal experiences with me, and by the work of Daisy Network, a UK-based charity dedicated to supporting those affected by premature menopause.
You worked with the Daisy Network to research the show, who are they and what do they do?
Daisy Network are a phenomenal charity, made up entirely of volunteers, who offer support and information to those affected by POI. One of the highlights of working with Daisy over the years has been attending and performing at Daisy Day – an annual conference where people gather to meet, share stories, and enjoy a variety of discussions, seminars, and great cups of tea! The diagnosis of POI can often be a lonely and isolating one, and Daisy offers a space to connect with others who are going through a similar experience.
What one thing did you learn about POI that surprised you the most?
I think what surprised me the most when learning about POI was just how young women can be at the age of diagnosis. The youngest woman I’ve met was diagnosed at the age of 15. It’s hard to comprehend the impact a diagnosis of premature menopause has on the ability to have children when you’re only a child yourself.
What do you want audiences to leave the show having learnt, and what will they feel?
I hope that audiences will leave the show having gained knowledge of what exactly POI is. There have been an exceptionally high number of audience members who have commented that they had not heard of the condition before they came to see the show. Raising awareness of POI is so important to combat stigma, increase representation, and help those who are struggling with feelings of isolation post-diagnosis feel less alone.
However, I also want to shine a light on how phenomenal the ladies bathrooms can be, and show audience members why women go to the toilet in pairs.
I hope that those who come and see Flushed will feel impacted and informed, whilst crucially having a good old giggle.
What’s next for Theatre Unlocked?
As a company we’re dedicated to developing new work which challenges the world today and seeks to champion marginalized voices. We’ve got a couple of exciting things in the pipeline, but we’re always on the lookout for new people and companies to collaborate with, so if you’ve got an idea then please get in touch!
Catherine Cranfield is the writer of Flushed, at Park Theatre from 8 October – 6 November. Flushed is presented by Theatre Unlocked in association with Grace Dickson Productions and Park Theatre www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/flushed