Taking The Stage – Tapestry

6th March 2022

Tapestry – The story of a quilt

Tapestry” by Bruntwood Prize award winning playwright Chloe Todd Fordham, is a new play commissioned by The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company that will be performed at our inspirational festival ‘Taking The Stage' on Wednesday 30th March and Saturday 2nd April at MK Gallery.  

You may have seen the play in its infancy at our first ‘Taking the Stage’ in 2019. Since then, Chloe has spent time developing the play with help from Lisa Cagnacci, a dramaturg and Associate Director at Sphinx Theatre - who will also be joining us at our four-day festival.

The now full-length play focuses on The Palace Community Centre “Talk and Sew”, which has been bringing laughter, empowerment and sanctuary to older women sewers Doris, Jan and Mich for the last 25 years. But when their discovery that the local authority is closing the centre coincides with the arrival of a vulnerable teenager to their group, they must work together to confront the truth of what their community group really means to them, and how prepared they are to fight for it to continue.

It is a fierce, funny and tender new play about female friendship that explores the resilience and value of women-led community groups, and celebrates the power of community, connection and storytelling through times of isolation and uncertainty. It also asks the question – what is the price of community in a world that is making it harder and harder for us to gather?

Since late last year, Chloe has also been working in collaboration with The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company, Jane Charles, a Milton Keynes based Textile and Sewing Practitioner, and an incredible creative collective of local women who are passionate stitchers and quilters. 

Without giving too much away about the play, the women choose to fight to save the centre and suggest they make a protest quilt via a ‘quilt-a-thon’. The final quilt and its individual patches made by a community pulling together at a time when needed the most, will be an aid to strengthen the protest against the closure of a centre that serves a vital function to a whole range of individuals for very different reasons.

The aim of the stitchers and quilters in our brand-new group is to take part in the plays ‘quilt-a-thon’ and generate and work on the protest quilt. The group have created beautiful patches filled with colours and designs that have really brought this project to life. 

When you come to watch ‘Tapestry’, you will be able to see the amazing work that these talented ladies have carried out over the last few months.  

Rosemary Hill, Artistic Director of The Play’s The Thing, said:

Creating this hybrid theatre crafts project has been extremely exciting as we have been able to really capture the essence of the play and bring it to life in the form of our local community made tapestry.

We have been very fortunate to have gained a highly creative and supportive group of inspiring female crafters. It has been an absolute joy to work with them and I thank them for being a part of this project.

Each one of the quilt patches is truly special and inspirational. It will be a beautiful sight when it is complete, and we cannot wait to showcase the final tapestry at our ‘Taking the Stage’ event next month.

Tapestry’ can be seen in the Sky Room at MK Gallery on Wednesday 30th March following the keynote speech from award-winning playwright April de Angelis at 7pm, and on Saturday 2nd April at 8pm following the closing speech from award-winning playwright, Abi Zakarian.

The Playwright: Chloe Todd Fordham

Chloe is an award-winning playwright from London. Her play SOUND OF SILENCE won a Bruntwood Prize Judges Award in 2015. Her play THE NEXT GENERATION was shortlisted for the 2017 Writers in Theatre Award, run by Out of Joint.

Her first play LAND'S END was developed while studying at Goldsmiths University and through the Arcola's inaugural PlayWROUGHT festival and was later shortlisted for Theatre503's Playwriting Award in 2014.

Short plays include: THE NIGHTCLUB (published in Women Centre Stage (Nick Hern Books); performed as part of Acts of Defiance Festival at Theatre503 and Sphinx's Women Centre Stage Festival at Hampstead Theatre), PLAY 9 (for PLAY Theatre Company, Vault Festival), CHICKEN AND CHIPS, part of ELEXION (Theatre503).

Her co-writing credits include AND OTHERS, a collaboration with Stewart PringleJenny Sealey and Dr Susan Croft, which was staged as a reading at the National Theatre's Courage Everywhere Festival in 2018, and at Rose Bruford in 2019. Chloe is a graduate of the 503Five, Theatre503's writer residency scheme and has attended the Kenyon College Playwrights Conference in Ohio (supported by Bruntwood and the Royal Exchange). She has an MA in Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths University. As a dramaturg she has worked with writers at Graeae, The Royal Court, Talawa, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Theatre503.

Book your tickets and find out more about our four-day ‘Taking the Stage and Screen’ festival at MK Gallery which runs from 30th March to 2nd April.

Thank you to Arts Council England for supporting our festival.