Unruly: A love letter to the punk spirit of activism and finding your tribe by Vici Wreford-Sinnott

Vici, an older white woman, looks through the tear in a crumpled piece of brown paper with a fierce, defiant-looking face.

Today has been a brilliant day of punk, disabled women and a supportive accessible space to work in. I’m in rehearsals for my show Unruly which I’m writing and performing in, surrounded by the most incredible collaborators and co-conspirators. Bex Bowsher was dramaturg on development of the script and is directing, and she is taking us through the initial stages of finding the character and narrative palettes we need to build the performance on. This is alongside original music and sound by Beccy Owen, production design by Kim McDermottroe, movement direction by Alicia Meehan and all of us in the incredibly safe hands of our production manager Kamilla Jonsson. We are expertly supported by ARC producer Allison Birt. 

Vici Wreford-Sinnott is an older white woman with pink, blue and purple spiky hair. She is holding two fingers up.

Unruly is a love letter to the punk spirit of activism and finding your tribe. It’s for people who never felt good enough ‘cos of how the world works, it’s a celebration of misfits and outsiders who each discover their own power. And it is a love letter to my disability rights family and what we’ve all been through together.

It seems timely that we make a play about disability activism, right now as disabled people feel under threat from national policy changes and damaging rhetoric about being burdens. 

In a divisive world, main character Marina in this solo show, and Suze, are a force of post-punk, police-agitating, bollocks-shouting duo who were changing the world through the disability rights movement. Best friends from childhood, the pair had a loyal, fiery relationship, but now Marina has lost Suze, and the revolution has to stop for a while. Marina reflects on their riotous journey, embodying their world, as she summons a lineage of powerful disabled heroines.

In order to say goodbye to Suze properly, Marina questions whether it has all been worth it and welcomes the audience into her journey if unravelling. It’s a story of many layers, giving voice to a story not previously told. Although it’s not autobiographical, it is very close to my heart, my history, and the histories of a great many disabled people and artists, who mean a great deal to me.  It’s time to honour the change brought about by disabled people. And to really examine where humanity has gone. 

Vici Wreford-Sinnott is an older white woman with pink, blue and purple spiky hair. She is holding three carnation flowers out towards the camera and has a defiant look on her face.

Photos: Erika Tanith

The stories of disabled people never cease to surprise me – Unruly is told with humour with a phenomenal original music score performed live alongside me onstage. Already I’m excited to bring audiences this story and deeply moved by the skill and integrity of the whole team to make a brilliant show, in accessible ways which will be accessible to audiences. 

If you’re a disabled person, a disabled woman, someone who doesn’t know where they fit, we think you’ll see part of your story on stage. If you’re a non-disabled person, come and find out more, and consider our common ground. We really do all need each other. 

Unruly comes to ARC on Thursday 23 May at 7pm, and the performance can be watched in person or online. Book tickets now and Pay What You Decide for them after the show: https://arconline.co.uk/whats-on/unruly/

Access Information for Unruly

This show has integral BSL and captioning. Please ask about the best seating for each.

Audio description is written into the script, and an advance touch tour is also available for set description and a description of the character. Please contact the Box Office (on 01642 525199 or email [email protected]) to arrange this or arrive early and approach front of house staff about it.

Access culture of the show

There will be a warm welcome into the theatre. We create work to be as accessible as possible and we want audiences to feel comfortable in the space.

Audience members who would benefit from arriving early to get comfortable in the space are welcome to/ enter up to half an hour early. Please let front of house staff aware when you arrive, and they can show you up to the Studio Theatre.

It’s fine to come and go in the theatre if you need the loo or to take a break.

People who make involuntary noises based on their conditions are welcome, and as such we expect all audience members to be respectful of all other audience members. It is a ‘tutting’ and frowning free-zone.

There is no audience participation during the show, so no one will be put on the spot for anything. After the show there will be a short break and then there is a chat with the creative team in a question and answer session (Q&A). All are welcome.

Access dogs are welcome. Do let us know in advance where possible.

Music and sound

All music is performed live by one musician/sound artist/singer. Some of the music is in a punk style and so many have attitude and a degree of reasonable volume. No loud bangs and no distorted sound are expected.

There are a couple of moments where the actor raises their voice in the context of the play – we will provide timings for when to expect these to happen in advance of the show.

Content awareness

The play explores themes of friendship and loss, reflection on life events, amazing disabled women from history who achieved incredible things against very challenging and discriminatory social backdrops. There are references to death and there is mention of a friend taking their own life – there is no detail described. Drinking alcohol excessively as a young person is referenced. All of these things are carefully balanced with the celebration of disabled people’s lives and triumphs, of friendship and community. There is a message of hope and a call to action.

We can provide more details of content, so please do contact Box Office with any questions. Call us on 01642 525199 or email [email protected].