Theatre review: Sally can dance


24 May, Derby University


Dame Helen Reeves, the chief executive of Victim Support, once said
that, if the most vulnerable members of society are denied justice,
then we have no justice. A simple but compelling truth,
writes Graham Hopkins.

The introduction of intermediaries – go-betweens for the court and
for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses – is a potential huge step
in supporting people to be able to give their very best evidence.
And to promote the scheme, this new play was commissioned from
Sunny Arts – a theatre and film company specialising in social
concerns – by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. Its
performance was part of a conference organised by OCJR and learning
difficulties charity Voice UK. It took place in the charity’s
impressive mock court room at Derby University.

Sally (Melody Eastman – a deaf actor in her first role) is a young
woman with no speech who communicates through a book of pictures.
She was abused as a child by her mother’s partner, Frank. Nobody
believed Sally at the time but, following later allegations against
Frank by his new family, a case is now being brought. Enter Andrew
the intermediary (Will Geffin) who takes the time to get to know
Sally so that he can make sure that the court and Sally understand
each other, and as a consequence Frank is convicted.
The piece delivers its points well, although it is perhaps a shade
too long. It is also set to be filmed (and thankfully shortened)
for use as a training video which should be available from the end
of July. At the end, the actors bravely stayed in character to
field questions from the audience. Back in real life, however,
intermediaries may well prove to be the answer.

For a copy of Sally Can Dance, please visit
in late July for availability details

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.