Preview: Open Clasp – 16 Days of Activism | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Photo: Abigail and Cheryl Byron by Keith Pattison

Multi award-winning women’s theatre company Open Clasp are launching an online film collection for UN’s 16 Days of Activism taking place from 25th November to 10th December. 

The collection includes Key Change, Rattle Snake and Sugar with British Sign Language interpretation. There will also be a new release of don’t forget the birds, which is written by Catrina McHugh MBE and directed by Laura Lindow and follows on from the events of Key Change. It tells the story of what happened next for one of the women Open Clasp worked with in HMP Low Newton and is performed by real-life mother and daughter, Cheryl and Abigail Byron.

Abigail Byron was in her early twenties when her mother Cheryl Byron was sentenced. She began working with Open Clasp when her mother was released from prison and is keen to share her story through the film. 

I hope telling my story will help other young people who have had a family member go to prison to share how it feels and know they will  be OK. I’d also like other people to understand and not judge someone for mistakes that were not  their own. Im thrilled don’t forget the birds is being released online, and that it can be seen by more people. I enjoyed every moment making this into a film; even though some scenes are hard, I  knew it was worth getting our story out there. 

Cheryl Byron adds, “I am nervous but very excited for this film to be released online, and over the moon it can be seen by a wider audience to help people get a better understanding of what  actually happens and all of the emotions that surround being released from prison. Working with  Open Clasp was like a breath of fresh air for me; they have a real understanding of my situation  and it was great to not feel judged by them. I think making the film was the biggest part of my  ‘therapy’ as I call it; it made me believe in myself more to know my story is important enough to be  out there and has some worth.”  

All tickets are Pay What You Can and the films will be available to watch online from 25 November – 10 December. To book tickets visit the Open Clasp website.  

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