Domestic abuse explored on Spalding stage

Alison Honeybun’s first role after 25 years away from the stage meant taking her clothes off.

She was one of the main characters in St Nicolas Players’ 2012 production of Calendar Girls.

Mum Alison Honeybun and daughter Sophie. Photo: SG260215-119TW

Mum Alison Honeybun and daughter Sophie. Photo: SG260215-119TW

That was a turning point for the mum of three, restoring the confidence that had been destroyed in a previous relationship.

“My ex didn’t like me doing anything that involved other people,” says Alison, who lives in Gedney with husband Stephen and their son Jessie. “You mustn’t be on stage, you musn’t be the centre of attention, you can’t do that any more... after being told I was useless I didn’t do anything for 25 years.

“He made me feel useless, just from things he said. There was never ever any violence, just psychological bullying. If you are told enough times you are not any good you believe it in the end.”

Alison was married to her ex for seven years, and while her son Josh was too young to understand what was going on, her daughter Sophie (now 22 and living in Holbeach), knew only too well.

Alison Honeybun (back left) in her first production back on stage with St Nicolas Players, Calendar Girls. Photo: SG011012-468MD

Alison Honeybun (back left) in her first production back on stage with St Nicolas Players, Calendar Girls. Photo: SG011012-468MD

She was under four when her parents split up, but Sophie says: “I remember banging doors and holes in walls and shouting and crying and things like that.”

When she was in her late teens, Sophie went through a series of destructive, occasionally abusive, relationships, but says at the time she was “blind” to what was going on, ignoring advice to move on from friends.

Now the mum and daughter are putting their experiences into the next production by St Nicolas Players, Behind Closed Doors, which explores the sensitive subject of domestic abuse.

Sophie is directing and Alison producing the hard-hitting play written by Janet Shaw. St Nicolas Players chairman Arline Evenden is stage manager.

The cast of Behind Closed Doors (from left) Fiona Parish, Callum Pepper, Troy Melvin, Mike Barron, Sam Hunt, Emma Dobbs and Rob Nicolls. Joe Dickinson is not pictured.

The cast of Behind Closed Doors (from left) Fiona Parish, Callum Pepper, Troy Melvin, Mike Barron, Sam Hunt, Emma Dobbs and Rob Nicolls. Joe Dickinson is not pictured.

In putting on the play they will be raising awareness of and funds for Women’s Aid South Holland, which offers refuges for women escaping domestic violence.

Sophie – in a happy relationship with her “best friend” for the past seven years – is unafraid of tackling darker subjects.

However, Alison says the play has shades of both dark and light and adds: “I didn’t know the play. When I read it I didn’t see the violence. I laughed all the way through because the funny bits are hilarious.”

The play is being shown at South Holland Centre in Spalding from March 18-21 (7.30pm).

Tickets are £9.50 and £8.50 for concessions.

There will be collection boxes in aid of Women’s Aid South Holland at each performance as well as information leaflets, and Alison and Sophie hope to make a donation to the charity from the show.