2019 BINGE! PRESS reviewS
***** 5 STARS!
BINGE! a moorish story about food, friendship and finding strength. A RECIPE THAT servES up tender truths on addiction, consumerism, the instability of the arts, working-class womanhood, hope & acceptance.
“BINGE! is the feminist theatre we need in 2019!”
“Everyone in the industry should be going along and taking notes. Briefly touching on directors abusing positions of power as well as the language used to police women’s bodies, BINGE is some of the most convincing evidence on how safe spaces for women in the arts can only create great art”
“BINGE serves up some of the bravest theatre I’ve ever seen. Hoctor and Edwards paint a picture of what it’s really like for two young women trying to do what they love and navigate the modern world of consumerism whilst struggling to balance that with their desire to be their authentic selves.”
“Lisa-Marie Hoctor and Samantha Edwards enter the stage in fabulous oversized chicken costumes and do a dance routine to Scissor Sisters track ‘Filthy Gorgeous’. I’m already hooked”
BINGE! production photos by Ellie Birkenhead-Jones
“I can’t remember a time I felt part of a more supportive audience. ‘Girls Support Girls’ was cranked up way beyond maximum volume. An audience can’t help but be captivated by the warmth exuding from the ladies on stage. They welcomed us into the fold and I felt like I knew them. I found myself smiling at their memories as if they were my own; I was moved to the brink of tears by their honest expression of struggle.”
“Mighty Heart’s last hurrah pays tribute to a troubled past, swims in happy memories, sharply comments on today’s society and speaks to future generations with hope and guidance. That’s no mean feat for two women in just an hour on stage.”
“Lisa Hoctor bravely shares her troubled past, expressed with the perfect balance of conversational humour and poeticism. Sat in a bright yellow armchair, she moves the room to tears with in depth descriptions of PTSD and the solace she finds in food. But this autobiographical material steers clear of self-indulgence. From that very same armchair, Hoctor duets with her stage partner, Sam Edwards, on the crushing consumerist society in which we live. Two chicks (actually dressed as chickens) with a ukulele, regale us with insightful political comment to a satirical compilation of iconic advertising slogans. Pure genius.”
“To pass judgement on this production would be to force these vivacious women into the box that they so desperately reject. Their honest assessment of theatrical art sheds light on a career of judgement, rejection and an industry that too often chews up creativity and spits it out. But I will say this: the pair are effortless in a production that requires emotion, singing, tap-dancing, trampolining and energy by the bucketload.”
“BINGE! puts self love in the spotlight and makes the audience feel fab. It’s honest, brave and pure feel-good silliness, whilst being political, feminist and challenging. Just gorgeous.”
BINGE! was an enormous leap in our artistic ambition and across the whole project we shared the journey with 31 artists!!
The core devising and production creative team for BINGE! was…
Lisa Hoctor - Project Manager & Engagement Co-ordinator, Facilitator, Theatre-maker & Performer
Sam Edwards - Facilitator, Theatre-maker & Performer
Sam Ward - Dramaturg & Direction
Owen Rafferty - Composition & Sound Design
Ellie Birkenhead Jones - Costume & Set Design
Brogen Campbell - Company & Producing Assistant
Grant Archer - Visuals & Filming
Charlotte Barber aka SHAR - Vocal & Singing Coach
Rachel Bourke - Marketing Photographer
Beam Marino - Paper Artist
Kirsty Morrisey - Marketing Design
As working class women in the arts we understand some of the barriers that prevent artists building sustainable careers and because of this alongside every performance we always make space to elevate other artists and share our knowledge. The second phase of BINGE involved hosting a CHEERLEADING CHINWAG with a panel of 8 women to demystify working in the arts and share practical resources and guidance. There were 66 of us in the room, more than 90% were women aged 20-60+ all at various stages in their arts careers. We chatted and championed each other, sharing the ups and downs of working in the arts, unpicking class, shame and sustainability, success and survival. This was the third event of this kind we have hosted and the hearty discussions proved there is high demand for this series to continue.
100% of the artists and creatives we spoke to said that working in the arts had negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing. Whether that’s the financial instability, a lack of structure and routine, being on tour away from home for long periods of time, the policing of beauty standards, the pressures on our image, the lack of progression on offer to freelance artists and facilitators, low wages, costly industry expected expenses, the power imbalance across the industry or a combination of all! Freelance artists shared stories of juggling 7 jobs at a time to make ends meet. Some clear themes evolved: What can NPOs, venues and the Arts Council be doing better at to sustain artists? What does truly sustaining artists look like? Working class artists are being economically forced out of forging sustainable careers. What can the arts industry do better at to retain working class women? What does the future look like for working class women starting families in the arts?
CHEERLEADING CHINWAG FEEDBACK
“I absolutely loved the chinwag you put on yesterday; it was a truly inspirational group of people you got together! Thank you so much for organising something like that; people early on in their creative careers need to be able to see/meet/ask questions to others who have first-hand wisdom, and also to see that, regardless of how much 'success' a person has achieved, they are still a human who is on their own creative journey. I took a lot from what was said and I'm sure that many other people who attended must have as well.”
“Inspirational, relatable and bloody lovely discussions and Q&A chat at @HOME_mcr with fellow creatives today at the Cheerleading Chinwag. In awe of the fab female panel of creatives, friendly chats and their understanding of our lives juggling freelance gigs galore!”
“Here's to more honest chat about being in the arts: the need for bravery, balance, patience, kindness, self-care and self-compassion!”
Cheerleading Chinwag panel
Actress, Writer and Producer Hannah Ellis Ryan
Actress & Theatre-maker Etta Fusi
Theatre-maker and Writer Emma Geraghty
Writer, Producer, Facilitator and Creative Therapist Jane Claire Bradley
Director, Actress and Theatre-maker Nickie Miles-Wildin
Arts Producer and Engagement Co-ordinator Ella Dix
Actress, Theatre-maker, Facilitator and Puppet maker/ Mighty Heart Theatre Sam Edwards
Producer, Theatre-maker, Facilitator and Engagement Co-ordinator/ Mighty Heart Theatre Lisa Hoctor
The third phase of BINGE encapsulated two of our core missions; removing some of the economical barriers that can prevent audiences from accessing performance and offering a supportive and empowering space for women to share their words and stories. We curated a parent friendly Pay What U Decide afternoon of spoken word, song, poetry and monologues at Boho Utopia Arts cafe in Withington with an all female line-up of 9 artists. This afternoon was a glorious celebration of women taking up space and shared creativity. Performers involved: Rachel McBride, Jane Claire Bradley, Tori Tunnah, Sonia De La Moitie, Rachel Priest, Rachel Bourke, Benjamina Albanese & Mighty Heart Theatre.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Thanks for reading & being interested in our voices. You may (or may not) have heard that BINGE! is the last show we are creating. Our swan-song! A mighty tough decision that wasn’t easy to make or accept. Unfortunately as working-class women in the arts we can’t afford to continue to make & tour theatre. It’s as simple as that. We love theatre & art very very much but the emotional, mental & financial instability has taken it’s toll & as women in our 30’s we would like to hope for some stability. We WILL be continuing to freelance so please visit our facilitating page on this site for more details on supporting us, please hire us for all your participation & creative engagement projects, freelance project management, producing & community consultations, workshops & teaching opportunities. In doing so you will be supporting working-class women. So you won’t see us on the Mighty Heart Theatre stage dressed as chickens anymore but you will still see us out & about running workshops, freelancing & continuing to spread creative joy.
Thank You all for your support.
thanks in particular to Kevin, Jennie, Jodie and Roisin at HOME Mcr who have contributed so positively to empowering us as theatre-makers and artists.
Thank You to Jo at The National Theatre River Stage for continuing to cheerlead us. Thank You TO Waterside Arts for always saying yes. Thank You to Lisa O’Neil Rogan and Lynsey O’Sullivan for leading by example.
Our journey as theatre-makers has come to an end but our journey as working-class women trying to navigate a career in the arts continues…..Lisa & Sam xxxxxxxxxxx
If you’d like to read some more about the mental health of artists, here’s a brilliant short article by Lucianna Berger in the Huffington Post raising awareness about high rates of mental ill health within the arts. Copy and paste the below link to read about women in the arts being at 69% higher risk of suicide than the average.