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Ashby Court Entertainers Raise Awareness of Domestic Abuse

18 Jun

Domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime with one incident of domestic abuse being reported to the police every minute in the UK. Anyone can become a victim to domestic abuse, including those in the elderly community. A group of pensioners from Ashby Court in Norwich has recorded a play to raise awareness of domestic abuse within older relationships.

Ashby Court Entertainers

The group are part of the Ashby Court Entertainers which already has 15 amateur actors all over the age of 60. They have been performing in plays, musicals and pantomimes for ten years now and have recently produced a 25 minute production called 'Ruby Wedding'. The play was written and co-produced by local playwright, Ruth Bennett, who has experienced domestic abuse herself.

The play is set at a ruby wedding anniversary party for Donald and Joan that has been arranged by the couples' daughter. She is unaware that her father, a former army officer and retired head teacher, has become abusive towards her mother since he gave up work.

The play was also co-produced by Sheila Moore, Sheltered Housing Officer for Cotman Housing Association, and a member of Places for People, who own and manage Ashby Court. Sheila founded the group in 2005 and came up with the idea of doing their first radio play.

Community Awareness

Sheila, who continues to run the Ashby Court Entertainers as a volunteer, said: "We are very excited about how this has turned out and we're hoping to tackle a range of other issues including coming out as gay later in life, scams, depression and loneliness."

The play was aired on Future Radio, a community radio station based in Norwich, on 14th June but is available to listen to via their website. 'Ruby Wedding' is supported by Leeway and Age UK, ensuring domestic abuse within the older community is highlighted.

Sheila adds: "We desperately need funding so we can continue to work with Future Radio to make radio plays and reach a wider audience. I think that if people hear these sorts of messages from people who are older themselves, it is far more powerful and hopefully they are more likely to listen and seek help."

Daniele Fisichella, station manager at Future Radio said: "At Future Radio we are delighted to have provided Cotman Housing residents with the opportunity to have fun, produce a very interesting play and experience something new. I have seen how excited the authors of the play were when they came to record in our studios in Motum Road.

"Knowing that Future Radio has enabled a group of elderly residents to have a good time and increase their confidence is a feeling second to none. Giving local people something to look forward to and scope to engage with a new activity is one of the reasons why community radio exists and will continue giving a voice to different communities across Norwich. I hope our listeners enjoy 'Ruby Wedding' and it will help Leeway raise more awareness on the subject of domestic abuse."

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