Next week (9 and 12 November) sees the premiere of a new theatre piece written by two women with experience of domestic abuse, supported by Ingrid Jones from acta community theatre in Bristol. The performance is a collaboration with researchers from the National Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Bristol BRC) and the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol.

The show, Hard Evidence, follows the story of two friends, both with experience of domestic abuse but at different points in their journey to finding support. It shines light on how being involved in research can play a part in this journey.

Shass Blake and Alison Prince who wrote the piece met when they took part in the COMforT study. COMforT developed and pilot tested a trauma-specific mindfulness course for women with experience of domestic abuse and post-traumatic stress.

Shass and Alison have subsequently been involved in several other studies and believe contributing to research played a big part in their recovery through the support they received and friends they made.

In the performance, Shass’ character recognises that her friend, played by Alison, is experiencing financial control, a form of domestic abuse that Refuge (2020) reported affecting 8.7 million people nationally, but commonly goes unreported and unrecognised.

Next Link – a domestic abuse charity in Bristol – said that in 2020-21, more than a third (37%) of incoming clients reported an experience of this type of abuse. They believe this figure is likely to be much higher because the information is captured when clients first join the service and might not be as apparent to them as other forms of abuse.

Both Shass and Alison are hoping this piece will help others to recognise the signs of financial abuse early and find support.

To join us for the performance, followed by a Q&A with the actors and others involved in the project, follow these links:

Tuesday 9 November, 7-8pm

Friday 12 November, 7-8pm

To hear more from Shass and Alison on the process of writing the piece, read this recent interview with them.

A recording of the performance will be available shortly after these dates if you’re unable to join us, but for a sneak peek behind the scenes of the show, watch the trailer below: