Award winning directors Simon Frederick and Suzann McLean come Together to Stage Unseen Unheard: The Untold Breast Cancer Stories of Black Women in the UK, Written by Trailblazing Playwright, Naomi Denny 

  • A new play based on the lived experiences of Black British women and their journeys with breast cancer
  • The play is presented by Theatre Peckham in association with Black Women Rising (BWR) and is set to be premiered for a limited run this April
  • Black Women Rising is a pioneering cancer support project founded by The Leanne Pero Foundation, seeking to address the inequalities faced by Black women undergoing cancer treatment

Unseen Unheard is based on the lived breast cancer experiences of women from Black Women Rising. Set in real time on a normal evening, six women gather to unravel their shared experiences of the abnormality that Black women experience through their diagnosis. As one would expect, the women invite us into their world with an open and candid insight that combines honesty and humour. There is a real-world objective to staging this play. None more important than changing habits that will lead to saving lives.

The play is commissioned and funded by Gilead Sciences Ltd and will be presented by Theatre Peckham in association with Black Women Rising and will run for four performances (Thursday 27th – Saturday 29th April; Tuesday 2nd May) with a further two invitation-only performances (Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th May) at Theatre Peckham. Each performance will host a post-show panel discussion, which will be facilitated by award-winning community champion Leanne Pero, founder and CEO of Black Women Rising. Women with experiences of breast cancer attending will be invited to share their experiences around the topics discussed in the play, so that a report showcasing real voices can be presented to key change-makers.

Black Women Rising founder and CEO Leanne Pero comments: “For long enough the voices of Black Women going through Breast cancer have been silenced and unheard and this theatre piece will be another way to connect with our communities, bring home the importance of cancer awareness and educate health care professionals of our individual needs. This collaboration has seen our members guide the writing, direction and execution of the piece alongside a stellar creative team – our hope is that this play will give rise to much needed discussion and influence positive change and outcomes of Black women going through a Breast cancer diagnosis.” 

Suzann McLean of Theatre Peckham comments: “As artistic director of Theatre Peckham it’s important to me that we use our platform to shed light on the experiences of underrepresented communities. This play is a tribute to the strength and courage of black women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis, an opportunity to amplify voices that have been historically silenced, and to spark conversations that can lead to meaningful change.” 

With the aim to reach and provide access to people across all communities, the producers have chosen to make all tickets free of charge with a suggested donation of £7.50 which will be donated to Black Women Rising. Should someone wish to donate more than £7.50 the remaining amount will be split between both charities- Black Women Rising and Theatre Peckham.

Cast and creatives 

  • Cast: Adaora Anwa, Yvonne Gidden, Laya Lewis, Genesis Lynea, Carol Moses and Denise Pitter
  • Playwright: Naomi Denny 
  • Directors: Simon Frederick and Suzann McLean 
  • Set & Costume: Emma Wee
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