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Nadira Murray On … Vagina Monologues for V-Day

Nadira Murray (pictured) is the creator of the one woman show The British Ambassador’s Belly Dancer, which ran at the Arcola, the Arts Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008. The show was based on her real life experience of meeting and becoming the mistress (and later wife) of Craig Murray, Britain’s controversial ambassador to Uzbekistan. Next week she’s performing in The Vagina Monologues as part of V-Day (a global campaign to end violence against women) at the New Players theatre.

“When I heard about V-Day and its shows in London, I really wanted to get involved. I feel passionate about this cause and its aim to stop violence against women and girls.

From my own experience I know and I feel how violence affects women both mentally and physically. I come from Uzbekistan, a male dominated society where women are abused and oppressed, raped and suppressed. What’s more, these women have to keep their silence because society makes them feel ashamed about what’s happened to them, and they end up blaming themselves. Some of them even set fire to themselves with kerosene, or hang themselves in order to escape.

I have talked with lots of girls about their stories. Some of them were half burned but survived. Some of them had run away from their family because they had been raped, which meant that because they weren’t virgins any more, or had become pregnant from the rape, they were seen as disgraced by their families, neighbours and society as a whole. Some of them were beaten up by their husbands. Some of them were forced violently to get married.

After speaking to these girls, I wished that I had a voice to speak up for them, loud enough to be heard. I wished I could have done something then and could have offered them more than sympathy. As I perform in the V-Day shows I will at last have that chance. In The Vagina Monologues, I’m speaking with the voice of many women, known and unknown. All the women and girls, including the dead who didn’t get a chance to share with us, not just from my country but everywhere, all over the world where the abuse, rape and humiliation of women goes on.

The message of The Vagina Monologues is that we as women are not victims, and we shall not be victims of our past - we are powerful and very strong in every way. There’s a way you can help too – if you come to see the show, you will be contributing to some great causes.

The charities that will benefit from the shows are tackling a number of important issues including sex trafficking, rape, and domestic violence - but this isn’t all about charity, it’s also about seeing some thought provoking, entertaining theatre too.

This is a well known play but our production will be different to previous productions. Director Emma Jane Richards is really trying to bring something new out of the monologues - it’s not about celebrities reading monologues from cards. There are some really talented actors involved who will bring Eve Ensler’s wonderful words to life again.

The other show being performed for V-Day at the New Players’ is A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, which is a compilation of pieces written by playwrights, novelists and actors, all sorts of people, on the topic of violence against women. It’s edited by Eve Ensler and has brand new work from people like Edward Albee, written especially for V-Day. It sounds like it will be really interesting and thought-provoking and I can’t wait to see it.”

For more info on V-Day performances at the New Players Theatre, click here

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