Playwright Karen Bartholomew, founder of Motormouse Productions, used her own experience along with that of many other individuals and families to create a play that truly reflected the reality of the adoption experience.
With Arts Council funding to develop Giving Up Marty, she wanted to challenge some of the myths that persist around adoption, and bring the play to wider audiences by funding a ten-performance tour.
Professional, quick and efficient, though I think many creatives would struggle to pay for it. I really enjoyed the punchy narrative, fast turnaround and energised pro-active approach. I like that. If anything, she made a slight dither in me bite the bullet and go for it, and now we’re a few thousand ahead in our funding campaign because of it. So thank you Jo! Running the campaign myself was hugely labour-intensive, and draining at times. It does help generate success and create interest, and it will also help with funding applications. I don’t know if I would do ‘all or nothing’ again or if I would set the target much lower. But we do need these funds and more for the production. Theatre is a money pit, at times. But the honesty of the project clearly resonated. I found it incredibly moving to see so much support, and the final day was quite emotional. It felt like a HUGE achievement and a real journey and it has actually informed the future marketing and steer of the play.Karen Bartholomew, Motormouse Productions
Giving Up Marty premiered at London’s Vaults Festival in March 2020.
“There is a tendency to sentimentalise adoption with many films and television shows opting for fairy-tale endings. Bartholomew refuses to do this, instead tackling the topic candidly. This is an astute observation that shines a light on a part of life that’s often kept in the shadows. Theatre at its most thought provoking.”