Following its hit run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, theatre makers and activists Davinia Hamilton and Marta Vella bring Blanket Ban, their rallying cry for Maltese reproductive rights to Southwark Playhouse.
Blanket Ban was performed as part of New Diorama and Underbelly’s Untapped Award, and combines the artists’ lived experience with interviews, stories and video footage of Maltese women who have suffered the life-changing and life-threatening consequences of the country’s blanket ban on abortion.
Malta: a country of Catholic kitsch, golden sun, deep blue sea and Eurovision fanatics. It leads internationally on progressive LGBTQIA+ rights, including trailblazing transgender laws — but also has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world. Taking a fondly critical look at their home country, and propelled by three years of interviews with activists and anonymous contributors, Davinia and Marta add their voices to international calls to end Malta’s draconian abortion laws.
Shortlisted for the Popcorn Writing Award and the Sit Up Award, Blanket Ban premiered at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2022, just weeks after Roe v Wade was overturned in America. Around the same time, Malta came under fire when American tourist Andrea Prudente was denied a potentially life-saving abortion and had to be airlifted to Mallorca.
In response, a bill that would make abortion legal if the pregnant person’s life or health was in grievous danger currently being debated. It is being staunchly opposed by anti-choicers, including the country’s president and the leader of the Opposition.
Davinia Hamilton said: “We are so excited to bring Blanket Ban to the Southwark Playhouse. This is such an important topic and, although the play addresses Maltese laws, it is relevant here in Britain too, where we are seeing a growing anti-choice movement — with large numbers of protestors harassing pregnant people outside abortion clinics, and more Britons than ever being investigated by police over illegal abortions.”
Marta Vella added “We are thrilled to bring Maltese stories to a London audience. This is more than just a play; it’s a cautionary tale and a call to action. Abortion rights are not to be taken for granted, they can be taken away at any time.”
Chalk Line Theatre is a multi-award winning company based in Luton, touring nationally and internationally. They look to experiment with form by tackling socio-political subject matter in innovative ways that are challenging but entertaining.
Blanket Ban is at Southwark Playhouse Borough 25 April – 20 May, 2023.