‘She just needs to understand that it's not her fault, that she's not to blame, that she's not a slut.'
Three women and two men swim in shame. Everyone's exposed. Everyone wants revenge. No one's talking about it. Five candid stories about revenge porn and all its many victims. Blush is a slap in the face and a call to arms.
Written by Charlotte Josephine and presented by Snuff Box Theatre – the team behind award-winning Bitch Boxer.
BLUSH is a difficult show to write marketing blurbs for. Blurbs require you to be precise and definite, clear-cut and simple. And this show is none of those things. This show is angry and sweet, it’s painfully honest and it’s lying through its teeth. This show is a whole load of contradictions, asking a whole load of difficult questions that no one seems to know the answers for. This show is about misogyny, and shame, and violence. It’s also about empathy, and forgiveness, and kindness.
The show was written in response to the recent legislation passed to make revenge pornography a criminal act. Revenge pornography, or non-consensual pornography, is the posting of sexually explicit content without the consent of those depicted. The law now makes it illegal to disclose a "private sexual photograph or film" without the consent of the person depicted in the content, and with the intent to cause them distress. Whilst revenge porn was the catalyst for BLUSH, the true focus of the work is shame. Just as politics needs fear to prosper, consumerism needs shame in order to successfully thrive.
BLUSH is a fast-paced, angry and honest: five stories told by two performers exploring where our desire to shame others comes from. It looks at the unwritten rules of gender-related responsibility; what we think it means to ‘be a man/woman’ today, and then in turn how the shame we feel at ‘not measuring up’ can spill out sideways into acts of violence.
BLUSH is Charlotte’s attempt to begin a conversation, a call to arms to share the things we’re ashamed of, in the hope that by doing so we’ll re-learn we are enough – the show was originally written as part of Sphinx Theatre’s Women Centre Stage festival at the National Theatre, and Snuff Box will present the full show at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the Underbelly Untapped season.
Snuff Box Theatre is a collective of theatre makers thriving on guts, grit and heart to create bold new work from a blank page. Founded in 2011, Snuff Box (Bryony Shanahan, Charlotte Josephine and Daniel Foxsmith) met whilst training together at East 15 Acting School on the Contemporary Theatre course, have been part of the British Council Showcase and have toured the UK extensively, as well as performing in Australia, Norway and Ireland. In 2015 Snuff Box teamed up with producer Jake Orr.
Meet the BLUSH team
Charlotte Josephine is an actor and playwright represented by Curtis Brown. She is Co-Artistic Director of Snuff Box Theatre. Graduate of the Contemporary Theatre Course, East 15 Acting School, Charlotte’s first play Perffection won a Commendation For Writing from the NSDF. Bitch Boxer won the Soho Theatre Young Writers Award 2012, the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season 2012 and the Adelaide Fringe Award 2013. Bitch Boxer is published by Oberon Books and is currently being performed internationally. Other acting experience includes Secret Theatre Company (Lyric Hammersmith), Phyllida Lloyd’s all female Julius Caesar (Donmar Warehouse) and Buckets (Orange Tree Theatre).
Daniel Foxsmith is an actor and playwright and graduate of the Contemporary Theatre course at East 15 Acting School. He has toured nationally, internationally and performed in the West End. He won Best Performer at The Adelaide Fringe as part of Bound, which won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Herald Angel and the Holden Street Theatres Award. His first play, The Observatory, won the Scottish Daily Mail and Conference of Drama Schools Edinburgh Award and National Student Drama Festival and Methuen Drama Prize. His latest play, Weald was shortlisted for the Yale Drama Series Prize 2015, and the inaugural Hodgkiss Award at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in 2014 and is published by Oberon Books. Daniel is founder and co-Artistic Director of Snuff Box Theatre.
Ed Stambollouian trained on the MA in Theatre Directing at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His work has been seen recently at the Unicorn, the Arcola, Shoreditch Town Hall, Vault Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. He has an interest in new writing from the UK and North America and recently directed the world premiere of Rob Hayes’ Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked. Ed also directs comedy, most recently working with standup comedian Joe Lycett on his UK tour; with the Invisible Dot on their Birthday Gala at the Hammersmith Apollo and with Youtube stars Dan & Phil on the UK and American tour of their stage show: The Amazing Tour is not on Fire. He was recently named as one of the Old Vic 12, a group of emerging creatives attached to the Old Vic Theatre for a year under incoming artistic director, Matthew Warchus.
Jake Orr is Snuff Box Theatre’s producer. He is Artistic Director and founder of A Younger Theatre. Jake co-directs and produces Incoming Festival. As an independent producer his producing credits include Weald (with Snuff Box and Finborough Theatre), Saudade (Ovalhouse) and Shelter me (Theatre Delicatessen). As Associate Producer his credits include The Bombing of the Grand Hotel (Cockpit Theatre and Tour), Mouse Plague (Edinburgh Fringe, Battersea Arts Centre and National Tour) and The Eradication of Schizophrenia from Western Lapland (Edinburgh Fringe, Battersea Arts Centre and National Tour). Through his producing company Making Room, Jake produces emerging theatre companies; Snuff Box Theatre, Circumference, Soundboxed Collective, The Letter Room as well as independent artists Xavier de Sousa and Matt Miller. He also co-curates Dialogue with Maddy Costa and produces Dialogue Festival. He has previously worked with Ridiculusmus, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Company of Angels and Little Angel Theatre. Jake was nominated as Best Producer in the 2014 Off West End Awards.
Phew! Meet and greet: DONE!
So a little bit about the Edinburgh festival: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city.
Every summer there's a uniquely fantastic opportunity to present new work, new stories and new messages to thousands of people - Snuff Box want to do that this year, particularly as BLUSH feels like an urgent call-to-arms for men and women alike.
We’ve been fortunate enough to gain financial help from the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and the Arts Council (which has helped us to R&D the show and develop the script, as they don't fund for the Edinburgh Fringe) – but part of our application relies upon us looking to source some of our funding by other means – that's where you guys can help!
Why we need the funds This small amount goes a really long way – Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a huge beast (last year alone had 3,314 individual shows as part of the programme!) and we need all the help we can get in order for BLUSH’s subject matter to cut through the noise and reach the people that have come to see bold new work.
A strong marketing campaign is integral to any show's lifespan, and employing a PR company - Chloe Nelkin Consulting www.chloenelkinconsulting.com will help us with three key things for the duration of the Edinburgh run:
• social media presence (can't live with it, can't live without it), building interest for the show by securing cast and creatives interviews with blogs, online and physical festival publications
• buying space and placing ads for BLUSH across Edinburgh and online (the flashy bits on your Facebook page)
• (the really important one) forging links with the right members of the industry interested in developing the careers of young theatre makers.
To make all the above possible we’re after (a smallish) amount of £1000 – it’s a really manageable target, and we’re hoping YOU can help us reach that golden number!
Risks and challenges
The team we have currently on board is very strong – with individuals having worked at The National, across the West End and beyond. We have strong Edinburgh partners in the Underbelly and have been chosen to be a part of their Untapped season, which champions new writing talent. This coupled with our previous successes at the Fringe (Bitch Boxer won the Holden Street Theatres Award) and a strong body of collective work hopefully means we have a decent chance of a returning audience.
However, it’s not an exact science, and the formula for success as an emerging company is anything but simple, particularly at a festival that can sometimes seem like a shouting contest to draw audiences (there were over two million tickets issued at last year’s Fringe!). Venue costs can be prohibitively high; props, set and costume take their toll, and we pride ourselves on being able to pay our team fairly.
It sounds like doom and gloom (we love it really), but hopefully it might shed some light on why we’re asking for a little bit of help to get the journey of the show off to the right start!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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