An epic tale based on real-life stories of women who have faced and survived coercive controlling domestic abuse.
Rattle Snake, a co-production between Open Clasp and Live Theatre
The women in the Open Clasp production walked right out of the pages of my book. The characters come alive, elicit compassion, cry out for justice. We feel the magic go out of them. The play compels discussion and response. This is living theatre at its best. Evan Stark, expert on coercive control and writer of Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life (Interpersonal Violence)
Age Recommendation: 15+
A story with no ending; a chance meeting with one man changes the lives of two women forever. Now they both live trying to predict the unpredictable.
Spine-tingling and visceral, Rattle Snake will literally take your breath away. An epic tale based on real life stories of women who have faced and survived coercive controlling domestic abuse.
Written by Catrina McHugh MBE
Directed by Charlotte Bennett
Now a captured film, Rattle Snake has been used to train over 1,200 staff at Cleveland Police, has been watched online by over 16,000 people online and used by over 100 organisations as part of training/awareness raising. This powerful film, accompanied with training tools and/or workshops can be used to train work forces in coercive control or as part of a conference. To find out how you can access Rattle Snake, please email email@example.com
Listen about the training here on BBC Tees with Artistic Director Catrina McHugh and Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger (from 19mins and 12s)
“Fantastic course, best I’ve ever been on. Actual awareness of the subject matter. May it be rolled out to everyone!” Cleveland Police, feedback
Open Clasp shares the experiences of survivors and encourages officers to use the stories to help them respond better to incidents – BBC Look North (from 10mins 40s)
“Thought-provoking. The day opened a gateway to seeing and perceiving some things in a different light. A great positive amongst the negatives in my daily role.” Cleveland Police, feedback
To find out more on how you could use the film to raise awareness and use as training, please click here.
Continuing their long association with Live Theatre, in 2017 and 2018 Rattle Snake toured nationally to critical acclaim. The company partnered with Women’s Aid, academics, Durham PCC Ron Hogg, politicians and regional front-line services such as Changing Lives, West End Women and Girls Centre and EVA Women’s Aid, Redcar to discuss coercive control in post-show discussions.
Based on research identifying gaps in police understanding of coercive control by Professor Nicole Westmarland and Kate Butterworth (Durham University) and the impact of arts-based research interventions by Professor Maggie O’Neill (University College Cork), Rattle Snake was created by Open Clasp and funded by Durham PCC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to train frontline officers in better responding to sexual and domestic violence – coinciding with the change of lawmaking coercive control in relationships a crime in 2015.
Read about how Catrina McHugh MBE created Rattle Snake here.
Anna Reid discusses her inspiration for the set of Rattle Snake here.
Sources of Information and Support
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 24 hour support service for women. 0800 200247
Karma Nirvana: a UK charity that supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and Honour Based Abuse. 0800 5999247
Freephone Rape Crisis England & Wales: Provides support and services for women & girls who’ve experienced sexual violence. 0800 8029999
Galop: LGBT+ anti-violence charity. o800 9995428
Childline: Free, confidential support service for under 19 year olds. 0800 1111
If you want to do something about coercive controlling domestic abuse, please download our Action Toolkit Rattle Snake.
An Open Clasp and Live Theatre production, originally produced in association with York Theatre Royal (2017). Originally funded by Arts Council England, The Newcastle Cultural Investment Fund through the Community Foundation and the Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust.