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Portadown actress Vicky Allen stars in harrowing play “The Shedding of Skin” on the abuse of women in conflict globally

Portadown actress Vicky Allen’s empowering role in her latest play ‘The Shedding of Skin’ depicts the horrors of abuse of women during conflict.

A performance artist, Vicky (25) is no stranger to the theatre and has treaded the boards in many of the best in the industry.

This play shines an eerie spotlight on the ugliness of how women are caught up in global conflict in the most harrowing of ways.

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Staged by Kabosh, it is a powerful and hard-hitting play charting the rape, torture and murder of women during global armed conflicts.

Vicky Allen from Portadown, Co Armagh. She is an actress who is performing in The Shedding of Skin in Marketplace Theatre on June 8.

It will be performed for the first time in Armagh, Derry and Belfast in June 2022.

The Shedding of Skin is a poetic, multi-layered howl of rage, giving voice to the thousands of women who have suffered abuse in all corners of the world.

The play is written by Armagh playwright Vittoria Cafolla, directed by Kabosh Artistic Director Paula McFetridge and stars an all-female cast, including Portadown-based actor Vicky Allen.

The Shedding of Skin is presented in the form of a Greek tragedy, with three Furies roaming the earth giving voice to women who have suffered.

Caitriona McFeely, Shannen McNeice, and Portadown woman Vicky Allen. They will be performing in The Shedding of Skin in Marketplace Theatre, Armagh on June 8. Photo by Johnny Frazer.

Vittoria Cafolla believed the play needed to be epic in form and scale to do justice to the universal themes.

She said: “The Furies were originally creatures who pursued and punished men for their heinous deeds. So much of this play is about justice, in that these crimes against women aren’t taken seriously, or acted upon. It felt natural to use the Furies to drive the debate on retribution.”

Vicky Allen said it was important that theatre continued to raise issues such as the impact of war on women: “Women are still not being heard. There are still cracks and flaws in the system, in education and in general society. I think plays like this won’t stop being made until there is a definite change in how women are treated and viewed.”

Paula McFetridge said that with the events currently happening in Ukraine, the play’s staging is a timely addition to the conversation on gender-based violence.

“We want audiences to be moved, stimulated and mobilised to end the horrors of war and the brutalisation of women. People feel so disengaged, overwhelmed and misinformed at the moment. Provocative, high-quality theatre offers a place for us to reach a better understanding of the impact of war” she added.

As with Greek tragedy, the play uses music, dance and dark humour to add drama, pace and complexity to the action.

The play stars four exceptionally talented actors, Vicky Allen, Louise Mathews, Catriona McFeely, and Shannen McNeice who use their vocal, music and dance skills to speak up for women from ancient Greece and the Soviet Union, to conflicts in the Balkans, Colombia, the Middle East as well as our own experiences of the conflict.

Shannen plays Sam, an everywoman approached by three Furies, Tereza, Ruth and Sinead, who channel the voices and experiences of women who have suffered at the hands of men during conflict.

The Shedding of Skin is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with development support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Acting Head of Drama and Dance said: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is pleased to support this powerful production from Kabosh which tours to Derry, Armagh and Belfast this June.

The play which features a talented local all-female cast and creative team, gives voice and space to all those women across the world who have experienced gender-based violence, and demonstrates the power of the arts in shining a light on and creating discussion around challenging subjects.

Vittoria Cafolla is a remarkable playwright who in this work brings our pasts into our shared present and poses important questions about what our future could look like.

“Congratulations to all involved and I would encourage everyone to go along and experience this play,” she said

“The production will be performed at the Playhouse Theatre in Derry on June 3 and 4 at 8pm; at the Marketplace Theatre in Armagh on June 8 at 8pm and at the Lyric Theatre from June 14-18 at 8pm and on June 18 & 19 at 3pm.”

To book tickets go to https://kabosh.net/production/the-shedding-of-skin/

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