‘Open the Parachute’ and drop in on Emergence’s staged reading of ‘Blood Relations’ in Hammersmith

Local Hammersmith mental health organisation Emergence¹ has chosen Hammersmith to hold a staged reading of Sharon Pollock’s play ‘Blood Relations’ during its first ever national fundraising month – called ‘Open the Parachute’.

The charity is using this emotional piece6 to not only create awareness of personality disorder (PD) but also raise much needed funds to continue to educate and fight the stigma associated with this much maligned and misunderstood mental health condition.

Held on October 13 at 7.15pm at The Irish Cultural Centre, ‘Blood Relations’ will be presented by Resurgence Theatre Company²,

In 1892 no one would believe that a well-bred young woman could have committed such a violent and bloody crime. Lizzie Borden was accused, tried and acquitted. Based on these events, ‘Blood Relations’ is a powerful exploration of the fact and fiction that has become the ‘Lizzie Borden legend’. Given a certain set of circumstances, is anybody capable of anything?

Sharon Pollock’s award winning play finds Lizzie, years later, in the same family home, entertaining a friend and playing with the endless question… Did she, or didn’t she?

What is a staged reading?

The staged reading of ‘Blood Relations’ will be a script-in–hand performance with some movement. The experienced professional cast will have had a few rehearsals where the emphasis will have been on characterisation and the emotional content of the piece – a recipe for a dynamic, spontaneous and powerful theatrical experience in an intimate space.

The cast features West End actress Lisa Bowerman (pictured below) as Lizzie’s sister Emma Borden. Lisa is best known for roles in two series of Casualty, Dr. Who, Spooks, Bad Girls, Doctors and has just finished filming the role of Jennifer Lingwood in Coronation Street. Also, 13 years as title role in the cult audio series The Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.

The cast also includes Susan Franklyn (Soldier Soldier, Casualty), and Max Gold (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, EastEnders); John Banks, Pauline Munro, Regina Reagan and William Whymper.

Kath Lovell, Emergence managing director, said: “I am thrilled with the programme of events we have planned for our first ever dedicated fundraising month and am delighted to be performing at The Irish Cultural Centre.

“October is a perfect time to highlight the issues surrounding personality disorder as October 10 is World Mental Health Day – but at Emergence we need more than one day to draw our campaign to everyone’s attention. We have a number of other exciting events planned4.

“In June this year we also launched our Emergence Pledge and we are asking as many people as possible to support us to ‘Change Attitudes and Build Lives’ for all those affected by personality disorder. Please join us and help make a difference5.”

Susan Franklyn, of Resurgence Theatre Company, said: “At Resurgence we have worked on a number of occasions with Emergence. Back in 2009 they approached us with an idea for developing a short piece of theatre relating to personality disorder. We were immediately engaged by the prospect of helping to raise awareness of this much misrepresented and misunderstood condition, especially as one of our core company members has a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD).”

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