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Rhiannon Unbridled – A one woman show with myth, music and magic

Event details

Rhiannon Unbridled – A one woman show with myth, music and magic

Rhiannon Unbridled
Imperial Rooms, Imperial Rd, Matlock DE4 3NL
Thursday 23rd March at 7.30pm.
Age guidance over 10 years

It was 2017 when Jackie Singer first imagined telling the story of Rhiannon, part of the Mabinogion, a collection of some of the oldest stories from these lands. Six years – and a pandemic – later, with funding from an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant, she is touring her one-woman show, Rhiannon Unbridled, which comes to Matlock on Thursday 23rd March.

Rhiannon is a mythical figure who refuses to die. From the Fleetwood Mac song in the 1970s to many modern retellings, she appears as a woman with strange, otherworldly powers, and a white horse, who can outpace the fastest pursuers. What began as a simple storytelling piece grew more layered when director Matilda Leyser, from the award-winning company Improbable, encouraged Jackie Singer to bring parts of her own life story into the show. While Rhiannon’s journey is from a powerful and passionate young woman to a much misunderstood and oppressed mother, Jackie’s own story takes the reverse arc, rising from compliant silence to an embodied feminine power. On the way, the show brings in original songs and commentary about the ‘scold’s bridle’, an instrument of torture used historically to silence women.

An unusual feature of the show is the use of shadow puppets. Stephen Mottram, master puppeteer, who worked on the large puppets in the film Little Shop of Horrors was the consultant for the show. He devised clever ways to make the shadows appear to move, using only a piece of card and a torch, adding a touch of visual magic to the production.

Performer Jackie Singer says, “Over the course of the tour, I’ve been overwhelmed by the audience response. Alongside Rhiannon’s myth, I’m telling my personal story, and at first, I worried that it might be too much about me, and people might not relate. But quite the opposite is true. So many women tell me they resonate with the message, in a strong, visceral way. It feels as though one woman’s story is every woman’s story. I also meet many women who are working on the same issue in different ways, reclaiming the power of the feminine. I definitely feel part of a wider movement. As I say in the show, ‘It’s time.’”

A diverse programme of workshops and other events runs alongside the tour. In Matlock, there will be a gathering at Nine Ladies stone circle on Friday 24th March at 11am. Local ceremonialist Glennie Kindred and storyteller Rachel Murray will join Jackie Singer to offer a participatory celebration with song, dance and ceremony, followed by a picnic. All are welcome. We’ll be there whatever the weather

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