A few years ago Naomi and Paul took part in creating a documentary with Vital Xposure called “Voices from the Knitting Circle.” This amazing award-winning documentary, shows a glimpse into life inside long term institutions that closed in the 1980’s.
Vital Xposure are going to be showing this film from Monday 5th October 7pm to Sunday 15th November for free on their YouTube channel, click here.
“It is amazing to hear people’s voices which are just so powerful and show such strength in the face in such horrible thing happening to them. We are having an event on rights and choices and this play shows how it is so important for rights to be upheld and to keep fighting for them. We need to make sure that no one is ever exposed to that type of behaviour again.” One viewer said.
Please be aware that this documentary does involve stories of sexual assault, rape, abuse and bullying.
To see more and sign up to receive the link for this premiere here is the link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/voices-from-the-knitting-circle-online-screening-tickets-119476688993
Naomi tells us about her experience working on the We Live Here Now Project and on the documentary.
“I got to know Julie McNamara Artistic Director at Vital Xposure through the We Live Here Now project. This project was looking at people’s lives that lived in long term institutions and then moved out into the community as an outcome of the Community Care Act.
At the start of the project we interviewed members who had lived in institutions but I was also interested in interviewing staff who worked in long term institutions. My google search resulted in a lot of coincidences. We discovered that Julie Mc had worked at Harperbury. She told me she wanted to run a woman’s group but she wasn’t allowed to do this. So she started running a woman’s group but called it the Knitting circle even though she couldn’t knit.
I met with Julie several times and we realised that some of the woman One to One were interviewing had lived at Harperbury and had been in the knitting circle patient group. Some of the characters in the play were based on these members.
Miriam, Ann and Betty remembered Julie and they all enjoyed reminiscing on the lives at Harperbury.
We also asked Priscilla Surfraz about her experiences of working at Harperbury who is also in the documentary The Knitting Circle. I supported Paul Lehrian chairman of One to One when he was interviewed for the documentary and was surprised to find that I was also filmed.
The people who lived in Harperbury were never given a choice when they were moved into the institutions. Mainly their life experiences were within the institution, possible doing one trip a year to the seaside if they were lucky. When people were moved back to the community little thought was given to their friendship groups and who they would have liked to live with. It was seen as a positive move and now looking back we can believe it was the right thing to happen but with hind sight more choices could have been given to people.