Human rights play, SEVEN, gears up for Scottish Premiere for Human Rights Day 2022

Human rights play, SEVEN, gears up for Scottish Premiere for Human Rights Day 2022

“If you put equal rights at the heart of the thing, you have to be sure that everyone is at the table”

Inez McCormack

Making Rights Real is delighted to announce that rehearsals started this week to bring the play SEVEN to its Scottish premiere for Human Rights Day 2022 (10 December).

A riveting piece of documentary theatre, SEVEN tells the true stories of seven women who bravely fought for the well-being of women, families, and children around the globe. In Russia, protecting women from domestic violence; in Cambodia, rescuing girls from human trafficking; in Guatemala, giving voice to the poor; in Afghanistan, empowering rural women; in Nigeria and Pakistan, fighting for women’s education and rights; and in Northern Ireland, promoting peace and equality. The play has been seen by over 25,000 people in 32 countries and has been translated into 20 languages.

Women experiencing human rights violations are usually excluded from naming and claiming their human rights and our aim at Making Rights Real is to change that. This project has been designed to use the play SEVEN as a catalyst for change within the participants’ own lives and communities.

We held an introductory workshop online in May and invited women who were activists, or who wanted to become one, to come along and find out how they could be involved. We were overwhelmed by the number of women who wanted to join in. Women shared their experiences of substandard housing, fuel poverty, discrimination and denial of vital health and social care services, and how duty bearers had failed to act even when complaints were made. After the workshops, participants said:

I think the subject of human rights is so important and using drama is a powerful way to spread the message. I also would like to meet other activists and campaigners and be able to share experiences with them. I think that being part of this project will help with my campaigning and develop confidence.”

“I believe that creativity, and storytelling, in particular, is a powerful tool for bringing people together and for delivering difficult messages in a way that is both engaging and effective.”

“I’m interested in the stories of the women and would like to learn more about disabled rights.

“I want to be more of an activist”.

“I’ve never done any acting before – this is a new challenge for me.”

We are holding rehearsal workshops in both Inverkeithing and Glasgow to maximise the number of women who can participate. The 22 women who have signed up are diverse in terms of their ages, background and experiences, and live all over the Central Belt of Scotland.

One of the seven women whose story features in the play is Inez McCormack, the internationally renowned Northern Irish human rights activist and trade unionist who passed away in 2013. Her daughter, Anne McCormack, lives in Kinross and is an activist herself, as Chair of the grassroots charity and foodbank provider, Broke Not Broken. Anne, who is volunteering to support this project, said:

“Being part of this production of SEVEN is so important to me for lots of reasons. Seeing activists supporting each other and starting to see their worth is amazing. To see the glint in their eyes, to quote my mum. Part of the legacy she wanted for those she left behind was to continue to be ‘effectively annoying’. Personally, I find the annoying bit pretty easy, but to bring lots of activists together to amplify the voices of Scottish women feels like it will be incredibly effective.”

We are in talks with a prestigious venue in Edinburgh to host the premiere to mark Human Rights Day 2022. We are already planning to host a further performance in Fife, and have ambitious plans to take the play on the road across Scotland next year.

We wish to thank our funders- without their generous support this project would not be able to go ahead:

Awards for All, Corra Foundation,  Joseph Rountree Charitable Trust, John Ellerman Foundation, the Pump House Trust, Foundation Scotland and CERVUS Trust.

Follow us on Twitter to find out about all our project updates. You can read more about the play here:

“If I have to, I can do anything.

I am strong,

I am invincible,

I am woman”

Written by Making Rights Real Associate, Lorraine Barrie.