PENNY BEALE MEMORIAL FUND NIGHT AT HASTINGS FRINGE FESTIVAL

Copyright Laura Dodsworth

by Carmina Masoliver

cw: mentions domestic violence

At the end of September, I attended and took part in Hastings Fringe Festival and got the chance to watch Spinal Krapp by Darren Maher, a ‘stand-up tragedy’ based in Dublin in the 1980s. Although initially uncertain, I ended feeling thoughtful about the piece, which explored the impact of violence on children, as well as looking at the ‘making of a monster’. When it comes to domestic violence, whoever the victim or perpetrator, it is ultimately about power and control. It was interesting to see this prior to attending the fundraiser for Penny Beale Memorial Fund, which similarly weaved tragedy and comedy together, bringing a different kind of poignancy to the night.

The Penny Beale Memorial Fund was started by the mother of Penny Beale (of the same name), whose daughter was murdered in 2001 after years of abuse by her partner. The charity aims to offer information and advice about domestic abuse through various means. The fundraiser opened with an introduction by Penny Beale, and a song by Carol Prior, who also compered the evening. Also on a musical note, Las Pasionarias’ powerful folk songs had an uplifting effect and there was a great feeling of sisterhood as they sang together, wearing in red and white flowers pinned to their clothes. The audience joined in for a song about Mother Earth, where we were united in its message of care and respect. Mellow Baku took to the stage with a guitar, referencing having grown up in a cult. Although the details were not spoken of in the same specificity as others, the emotions of this were shown through song. Baku not only delivered songs on guitar, but also recited poetry, making use of loop pedals and her incredible voice.

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