‘Girl in Suitcase’ ~ a one woman life modelling story with musicians

Before I get back to Spirited Bodies I am rebirthing my theatre. On Friday will be the first time my new performance will be watched.

It is a one woman life modelling spectacular. I will be with 4 musicians; a string ensemble as well as a percussionist, and the audience may draw the show if they wish. It is not entirely nude, there are a few flimsy costumes; a skip-raided set, and a soundtrack for the first scene which I created before I had met the musicians. Actually that scene is recycled from previous shows I have put on because I like it so much. The opening suitcase sequence sets the tone for a fucked up inversion of life drawing set-up. The model is immediately on edge, likened to a trafficked slave, and itching to escape. She makes her come-back, reverses roles with the ‘other character’ – a sinister older woman, and starts to take back her power.

When I started writing this show I thought it would be a snapshot of myself, amplified for the timebank. That’s what it says in the blurb which I wrote before I got to the script. While I was sketching out new scenes, stuff was happening with Mum. Each time I visited seemed more pertinent. Dad was struggling, and my last version of ‘Girl in Suitcase’ from Edinburgh ’11 kept creeping back into my awareness, the importance of telling that story. In a new way. With one actor. Mum was holding on to life as powerfully as ever, but sustaining her life was costing Dad on every plane.

The play is not exactly what it says it is, but it is where I am now, and I have no doubt it will evolve over time.

Working with ‘The Next Room’ has been a revelation. Suddenly there are others involved and they are not exactly in my space, though they share it. They bring new enthusiasm, and are the first people to respond to my script. I realise I need to focus on what their role is and be clearer in my direction, but luckily they instinctively understand and I feel most privileged to have them on board.

Here are some rehearsal shots by Chris Hermon.

During rehearsal I am not nude
During rehearsal I am not nude

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Roddy Skeaping leads 'The Next Room' collective of musicians
Roddy Skeaping leads ‘The Next Room’ collective of musicians

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Damaged a calf in this rehearsal, hope it's healed in time!
Damaged a calf in this rehearsal, hope it’s healed in time!

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My violin is making a come-back!
My violin is making a come-back!

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The show is on at The Telegraph at The Earl of Derby pub at 87 Dennett’s Road, SE14 5LW 

on this Friday 28th March at 8pm. Tickets are £3 (£1 concession) and can be bought here or on the door most likely.

If you are keen on drawing you are welcome to bring an easel. There are tables and we have some boards at the venue, and drawing materials. I will encourage everyone to draw, but you may simply watch if that’s more your bag. The poses are not very long if you are familiar with life drawing, and some are movement scenes, but if life art is new to you, then 5 minutes of stillness may feel like a long time. On the other hand, when there is no dialogue, there is music.


Enter Jaki Loudon, my Motivational Guru & Fellow Actress

Jaki cheered me up today as we waded into the backlog of promotional activities I have let build up…

Here’s what she helped me come up with for Why You Should Come And See ‘Girl In Suitcase’!

“This comedy-drama is inspirational, mind-blowingly honest and touches on poignant, contemporary issues. It approaches the human form in a new light making it unmissable – providing a wake up call to do something while the opportunity is still there.

Enjoy this new play by a new writing talent.

Spirited Bodies (the presenting company) is all about encouraging women (and now men) to step outside their comfort zone, and bare all. This is about shedding our fears, inhibitions and hang-ups relating to body image. This is about tuning into who we really are. Very few of us are actually comfortable with our bodies. This show may unlock a hidden desire to be seen as a work of art.

‘Girl In Suitcase’ is an autobiographical account of the relationship between a Mother – played by Jaki Loudon – and her daughter Rebecca – played by Esther Bunting – on their journey through life. Sara is now in the advanced stages of MS (multiple sclerosis) and has been estranged from her daughter for many years. The approach of death throws a bold new light on their lives.

Controversial issues about life and death are addressed in the play while an undercurrent of dark humour is ever present.

Allow yourself to be entertained by the antics of the cantankerous Sara and her libertarian daughter Rebecca.

Enjoy the inbuilt life drawing class. Come along and we’ll give you some paper and a pencil; give it a try.

Our characters highlight the need to grab opportunities while they still exist – before time runs out.

Time is of the essence.”



Trained at Academy Drama School & The Bridge Theatre Training Company. Theatre credits include : Gail in Gail Can Sing, Rat King & Captain in Dick Whittington, Sheena in Aurora, Queen Margaret in Richard III, Anfisa in Three Sisters, Violet and others in Find Me, Marion in How Love is Spelt, Flora in A Slight Ache, Time & Paulina in The Winter’s Tale, Witch in Story of the Amulet and Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes of God, and many more

Film and TV credits include: Vodaphone Codes TV commercial, Charlotte Pope in CryBaby, Journalist in Patient 17, Penny the Bric a Brac stall holder in Coldplay’s Music DVD Life in Technicolour 2.

My lovely friend Jaki


Trained at Rose Bruford. Theatre credits include Sara in Assisting Sara, Protagonist in An Ordered Kaosz, Young Syrian in Salome, Rose in Remembering Rose.

Esther wrote Girl In Suitcase, Assisting Sara and An Ordered Kaosz.

She currently works as a life model and started the Spirited Bodies events.