Chalk Line Theatre’s hard-hitting Blanket Ban is a rallying cry which will make its Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut in 2022.
Blanket Ban is a devised docu-play interrogating the blanket ban on abortion in Malta, the only country in the European Union to prohibit abortion entirely.
Providing an accurate depiction of Maltese women’s experiences, this piece questions what it means for their home to boast the world’s most progressive LGBTQIA rights, leading transgender laws… and a population that is almost unanimously anti-choice.
Co-writers, co-stars and activists Davinia Hamilton and Marta Vella explore Malta’s restrictions on the freedom of women through a fondly critical look at the island state, with its unique brand of Catholic kitsch, modern aspirations and established lore.
The investigation is further propelled through three years of interviews with anonymous contributors, verbatim, an innovative use of technology, and their own lived experiences.
Blanket Ban provides a timely voice to the debate surrounding abortion rights, in light of recent news of the potential overturning of Roe v Wade, a ruling which in 1973 established a woman’s right to abortion in USA.
Blanket Ban received Arts Council England funding to undergo research and development, in residence at ArtsAdmin in December 2020, and at Arts Depot in May 2021, with further support from Break the Taboo Malta, Abortion Support Network, Abortion Rights and The Women’s Rights Foundation.
Directed by Chalk Line Theatre’s Sam Edmunds and Vikesh Godhwani, the production company’s most recent production The Nobodies won Best International Achievement at The Malta Arts Council Awards, London Pub Theatre’s Standing Ovation Award 2021 and the COMMON Award 2020.
Co-Artistic Director of Chalk Line Theatre Sam Edmunds says, “Blanket Ban is a call to action, which has never been more pertinent. We have spent two years supporting and facilitating Davinia and Marta to create this show and to help shed a light on a global issue of indisputable significance. To quote the play itself ‘One of the things we lose when we ban abortion is the possibility to be human. To be vulnerable, flawed, honest. To be able to say, I had an abortion. I did what was right for me’. We are thrilled to be premiering this work at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and to share such a poignant piece which highlights the importance of campaigning for abortive rights and supporting others around the world in the fight to do so.”
Chalk Line Theatre is one of four recipients of the hit-making Untapped Award for Caligari, providing each winner with a £5,000 cash grant, brilliant programming slots at Underbelly at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, paid-for PR & marketing support, plus the option for publication by Methuen Drama and rehearsal space at New Diorama’s acclaimed NDT Broadgate hub in London. Previous Untapped recipients include Breach Theatre’s Fringe First Award-winner It’s True It’s True It’s True which celebrated a sell-out London run and BBC TV broadcast along with Nouveau Riche’s Stage Award-winning Queens of Sheba which toured extensively and went on to enjoy four sold-out runs at Soho Theatre.