Joanna Rosenfeld


Joanna Rosenfeld



Brighton and Hove
United Kingdom

Artist Statement

Motherhood: (Un)speakable, (Un)spoken is devised & performed by Joanna Rosenfeld, and devised & directed by Kath Burlinson. Lou Cope is our dramaturge and Tessa Howell our producer. Design is by Ellan Parry and Peta Taylor with music composed by Sined Jones. Supported by the Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town, the Nightingale and funded by the Arts Council of England. An early work in development was presented at The Works at Brighton Dome in February 2015. The resulting hour long performance after an r&p period was presented in November 2015, both at the Lantern Theatre, Brighton and the Bread and Roses Theatre, London.

Joanna Rosenfeld says; "Unsurprisingly, I began to consider the subject of motherhood, thirteen years ago before the arrival of our first child. After experiencing a traumatic birth I felt alienated and unrepresented in my cultural environment. I kept wondering why nobody had told me about the realities of birth, the brutality of sleep deprivation, the depth of potential grief and the darkness of post-natal depression. I searched, but found very few prepared to speak with honesty, truth and authenticity. So, being a theatre maker, I began to make. I searched for ways into this complex subject, toward an understanding and a truth...ways that might lead me to a healing place, help me feel okay, normal and enable me then to define my own motherhood. I found support from the Nightingale, started working with friend and mentor, director Kath Burlinson and have received funding from Arts Council England".

"Countless interviews, workshops at Lewes New School and the Brighton Dome in collaboration with Free University Brighton, and the International Women's Day, improvisations, deep felt moments of glory and shame and months of quiet reflection have now shaped the piece Motherhood: (Un)speakable, (Un)spoken, a collection of real stories from real women, unified by their honesty and courage in addressing the best kept secret, what it actually takes to be a mum".

Brighton-based artist Joanna Rosenfeld returns to the stage, thirteen years after her last full production to present Motherhood: (Un)speakable, (Un)spoken. An unflinchingly honest journey and collaboration with mothers from across Sussex.

Motherhood: (Un)speakable, (Un)spoken uses storytelling, live painting, projection and puppetry to explore subjects often culturally marginalised and aims to open a dialogue with audiences about what beliefs, assumptions and expectations exist around the idea of motherhood; accompanied by an original score.

"The one who leaves her child to cry because she might hit her"; "The one who feeds her child liquidized Mars Bars at four months", "The one who left two of her children in Australia to pursue the man she loved." Through a framework we call "The One Who....", rolling visual and spoken text based on true stories of mothers confronts the audience with what they believe constitutes "good" or "proper" mothering. These true statements, presented without judgment, encourage the audience to reflect on their own conscious and unconscious attitudes, beliefs and judgments.




“Joanna Rosenfeld,” Artist Parent Index , accessed June 17, 2024,

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