It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Jennie Buckman, a dear friend and champion of IKWRO. Jennie was a brilliant woman, who cared deeply about injustice and women’s rights. Jennie was a successful playwright and had been head of acting at RADA for 20 years. She was the Founder and Artistic Director of Giants Theatre Company, which puts collaboration with community groups at the centre of all of its productions.
Profoundly impacted by a screening of the documentary Banaz: A love story, at the Global Summit to End Violence in Conflict in 2014, Giants Theatre Company decided to develop a new play called Piece of Silk tackling violence against women and girls, with a particular focus on “honour” based violence. The title is taken from the documentary, where a policeman explains the concept of female “honour” by comparing a woman to a piece of silk, which once “stained” cannot be cleaned, and must therefore be eradicated.
In developing Piece of Silk, Giants ran a creative workshop with IKWRO’s clients to listen to their views, experiences and feelings, partnering with Survivors of “honour” based violence to help influence change. Giants also worked closely with IKWRO’s advice team, counsellors and Campaign Officer, as well as other rights organisations including Southall Black Sisters and the Not Shut Up Collective.
The play had a successful run at the Hope Theatre in London. It’s been described by critics as ‘relevant, harrowingly and horrifyingly relatable’ and ‘a powerful and essential piece of theatre.’ Through theatre, Giants forced the audience to either rethink, or think about “honour” based violence for the first time.
Jennie and Giants’ achievements in tackling “honour” based violence were celebrated at IKWRO’s True Honour Awards 2017. Jennie was well loved by all at IKWRO and will be greatly missed. Her legacy will live on through her inspiring body of work.
To learn more about Jennie, read this celebration of her life in The Guardian