Feature: V-Day in Deal – CorDomus Theatre Company, by Emelie Hill

Fen-Wilson-photograph-Rikard-Osterlund

Female voices echoed from The Lighthouse in Walmer last Valentine’s Day in a production of Eve Ensler’s celebrated hymn to women, ‘The Vagina Monologues’.

The show was performed in aid of CorDomus, a charity founded by Donna Payne in 2009 to help families in crisis and to enable victims to recognise the signs of abusive relationships

The production of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ featured the Deal based actress and producer Fen Wilson, who has appeared in television comedy and drama productions for both the BBC and ITV, and was directed by Michael Corbidge, a director, producer and writer known for his portraits of women’s life stories. Payne herself produced.

The cast for the Walmer show also included actresses Alexia Whybrow and Lizzie Willis, stand up comedienne Tracy de Gietelink, Rachel McNichol, Jane Houldsworth, Bella Ford and Donna Payne. “I met some of my co-actors through The Freedom Project two years ago, due to my own domestic abuse incidents”, says Fen Wilson.

The production was delivered in conjunction with The Libertas Project, created by Payne as a result of her involvement with national domestic violence awareness organisation The Freedom Programme. Both help women deal with the impact of abusive relationships, with the Libertas Project conceived to go further in supporting women recovering from abuse by helping them as parents to support their children in turn.

‘The Vagina Monologues’ is based on interviews conducted by Eve Ensler with more than 200 women. The Obie Award-winning show premiered in 1996 and is regularly performed all over the world on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness of gender-based violence. Funded by a grant from the National Lottery, this was Libertas’ first production and part of the V-DAY project, a world-wide campaign to end violence against women. It was also the start of what hopes to be an ongoing performing arts production company for charity CorDomus.

CorDomus will soon be running ‘Aestimare’, a six month project to build women’s self-esteem using skill building and life planning. FenWilson explains that it aims to support “women offering help to other future victims and will promote volunteering and altruism”.

The CorDomus Youth Troupe will also provide a performance springboard for the next generation by offering acting and stagecraft workshops to build self-esteem for children and young adults. This will run as a weekly group on Thursdays from 3.30 – 5.30pm at the Walmer Parish Hall, Deal. Participants will also be able to obtain the accredited LAMDA School of Speech & Drama certificates.

Following the success of their first, sold-out production of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ in Deal, later this year the CorDomus Theatre Company will present ‘The Monologues of Michael Corbidge’. A former voice coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Michael will perform at Chequers restaurant in Deal during September 2015 and again in London later next year.

For details of future CorDomus events please contact Fen Wilson, Artistic Director & Acting Coach: fen.wilson@hotmail.com