Make Do and Mend: The Witham, Barnard Castle

A PLAY dwelling on the details of domestic violence is always going to be a tough sell, but that’s not to say Make Do And Mend is not worth the effort.

The play, written by Rachel Adamson, came about through a project run by social enterprise Changing Relations, aimed at giving a voice to women in County Durham and at challenging the prevalence of the violence perpetrated against them. It is based on the experiences of three real women, who now take part in a therapeutic craft group in Stanley.

The cast of Christina Berriman Dawson, Ellie North and Rosie Stancliffe do a brilliant job of making each person someone everyone can recognise while allowing their personalities to shine. There is no single narrative when talking about domestic violence and proof that though the speakers are female and working class it doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice worth listening to.

The women whose stories shaped the script have been involved in the set, costume and prop design, while the chairs used by each actress have been hand-customised by the woman whose character she plays.

With a running time of a little under an hour, the title becomes apparent as not just a setting in which women can share their stories, but as a symbol of their ability to cope, their resilience and resourcefulness in dealing with life.

* The tour continues to the Civic Hall, in Stanley, on Thursday, October 13 and Bishop Auckland Town Hall, on Friday, October 14.

Information and for tickets on

Rachel Conner