Rites/ HOME: a catch up

I just wanted to talk about two awesome events I had the pleasure of witnessing this month… This post isn’t a review, but it seemed wrong not to talk about them a little bit.

I saw Rites at Contact on 12th May and I was absolutely blown away. A co-production from Contact and the National Theatre of Scotland, Rites focusses on the highly controversial and sensitive subject of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In all honesty, I felt like I was going to be watching it through my fingers. But director Cora Bissett and co-creator Yusra Warsama have created an intelligent, thought-provoking and informative piece of theatre, using a myriad of characters from different backgrounds to speak directly to the audience. There are lawyers, doctors, teachers, midwives, mothers, lecturers – and every single monologue is taken verbatim from real life perspectives on FGM. These perspectives are brought to life by a cast of just five fantastically versatile actors and connected together by the story of Fara, who is shaken by the discovery that she underwent FGM as a young child. Whilst Fara’s story evokes both shock and empathy, crucially Rites is not steered by it. There is no anti-FGM agenda, only a desire to inform the audience and – as Bissett states – to “offer something useful to the current discourse on the best way forward.” It’s hard to imagine a piece that could better achieve this objective. For a proper review, check out my fellow blogger Lizz’s excellent write up of Rites here.

Outside HOME
Outside HOME

From Scotland to Manchester… This month marks the opening of HOME, the brand new shiny arts complex that replaces the Cornerhouse and provides a home (sorry) for the former Library Theatre Company. The HOMEwarming weekend began on Thursday evening with the official opening – I work round the corner from First Street, so decided to pop along. By the time I got there at half 5, the crowd was massive – I got a brief glimpse of Danny Boyle finishing his speech, and then the ‘fanfare’ began. Fireworks that sounded like a thousand people scrunching rolls of bubble wrap were accompanied by a drum band, while a rainbow of smoke plumes blew overhead. Once the pyrotechnics had finished, I headed inside for a glass of wine – drinks are reasonably priced, for a theatre – and sat in the sun-drenched bar watching the crowds mill about. The huge glass windows are great for that, and the spacious first floor restaurant looks like a nice place for a meal. The box office is massive and clearly signposted as well, which is helpful. Now all I need is to check out the theatre and cinema spaces…

Not sure how much these will get used
Not sure how much these will get used


  1. Thanks for the link, though I think you were equally eloquent about Rites! As for HOME, I went back there on Friday to see a film in one of the 5 screens, and can confirm it was an enjoyable experience 🙂

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