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Trade playing at Omnibus Theatre Clapham – South London News

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Following the surprise cancellation of Vault Festival due to Covid-19, playwright Ella Dorman-Gajic and director Maddy Corner were left scrambling to find a new venue for the premiere production of Trade.

Much to their relief, Omnibus Theatre in Clapham came to the rescue, rescheduling the show for February 15 to 19.

Trade follows the story of Jana, played by Tanya Cubric, who is on the cusp of adulthood.

She’s started dating her first boyfriend and is getting ready to leave war-torn Serbia, to provide for her family.

But, when she wakes up in a basement in Bosnia, it becomes clear to Jana that life doesn’t always follow the plans we make for it.

With captions in Serbian and English, the thought-provoking, unflinching new play explores morality and power within the European sex-trafficking industry.

Ms Dorman-Gajic, who is a playwright, poet and performer of Serbian and Austrian heritage, was inspired to write the play through her growing awareness of sex-trafficking.

She said: “For a long time, I’ve had an interest in the relationship between women and sex – how the two are often associated, paradoxically, with either exploitation or power.

Trade

“I wanted to find a story that explored this dichotomy, and nothing exemplifies the tragic and ever present exploitation of women’s bodies more than the business of sex trafficking.”

But she was careful to avoid creating a one-dimensional character, adding: “From the dramatic works I had seen before with women who are trafficked, I felt there was a tendency to paint them as solely victims.

“I wanted to steer away from this, and explore a complex character –  to whom people can relate, who has light and shade, and who is not wholly defined by the play’s subject matter.”

Ms Dorman-Gajic hopes that audiences will sympathize with Jana, who is a complex person forced to make difficult decisions.

She said: “I hope this reflects how people are not wholly good or bad, but we are moulded so much by the systems we are part of – and this is a particularly poisonous one.

“Often, the line between victim and perpetrator is complex.

I also hope the play conveys how there are people like Jana living and enslaved in cities in the UK right now, who many of us may have even passed in the street, so in reality, it is not a million miles away from our everyday life.

“However, having said all this, it isn’t my intention to tell audiences what to think – and I would never want to preach to them.

“Ultimately, the play is a fast-paced drama that is full of light and shade, so I hope audiences will be entertained and provoked in equal measure.”

As well as raising awareness, the play will raise money with 10 per cent of all ticket sales going to Unseen, a leading UK charity fighting modern slavery.

A post-show discussion will take place on February 19 at 3.30pm.

This will be with playwright Ms Ms Dorman-Gajic, Ms Cubric, and Olivia Charlton and Eva Daly who work directly with survivors at Unseen.

Trade is at Omnibus Clapham from February 15 to 19.

Tickets can be found here: https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/trade/

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