Alexander Mushore

“As soon as I’d read the script of Lizzie On The Fence I felt very strongly that I had to put this on,” Amy Enticknap of Oxford’s Human Story Theatre says, “because whilst reading the play I found myself laughing out loud and then reaching for a box of tissues.”

Written by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, and read at Edinburgh Fringe in 2023, it depicts Amanda’s husband of 40+ years who lived in an adult residential home with a rare neurological disease, who died alone during Covid, when his family was not allowed to visit.

Lizzie On The Fence

“We weren’t able to get into his room and hold his hand. Visits were only ever possible at a distance through the care home fence,” Amanda remembers. “We never knew if he understood why we had apparently abandoned him.”

After Edinburgh, Director John Retallack sent the play to Amy, knowing that Human Story Theatre don’t shy away from gritty topics, and she loved it.

Amy Enticknap

“I read the play and whole heartedly agreed!” Amy adds. “It has a health and social care issue at heart, is just under an hour in length and had a post-show Q&A panel discussion. A perfect fit as far as I was concerned!

“Besides, Human Story Theatre has explored dementia, loneliness, isolation, suicide, post-natal depression, breast cancer, alcoholism and domestic abuse already – all the cheerful stuff – and I firmly believe humour is a key ingredient in getting these issues across,” she says.

Nathalie Barclay

What’s even more extraordinary is that since the Edinburgh Fringe performance, Lizzie On The Fence has become part of the campaign for Anne’s Law in Scotland, which aims to ensure those in adult residential homes have the right to connect with family, friends and community, including future pandemics.

Which is why Lizzie On The Fence is performing at the Scottish Parliament building next year to help Anne’s Law to become law!

“I believe in the power of theatre,” Amy continues, “especially intimate theatre that pops up in community venues and small studio theatres, and Lizzie On The Fence will hit home with many audience members, helping us to make a difference and raise awareness.”

Renata Allen

The resulting one-off staged-reading at OFS on January 18 stars Renata Allen, Nathalie Barclay, Tom Grace and Alexander Mushore and followed by a Q&A with the expert panel which incudes to have journalist, campaigner and writer Nicci Gerrard (The Observer) and Professor Mary Daly, Prof of Sociology & Social Policy at Oxford University.

So what can we expect? “Hopefully you will be moved to laugh together, shed a tear and feel some connection to the story, while raising further awareness during the Q&A.

“We’ve had three years to reflect, space to talk, and to realise it was really quite tough, so it feels like a good time to be sharing Lizzie On The Fence.”

A staged reading of Lizzie On The Fence comes to OFS on Jan 14 at 6pm, followed by a post-show Q&A.