I chair and run an annual conference, weekend-long conference, the Battered Mothers Custody Conference (BMCC). This event, which will be held this year on May 4th – 6th at the Red Lion Inn on Wolf Road, Albany, brings together national and local DV experts to address the legal, psychological, and social justice barriers affecting domestic violence survivors who attempt to gain legal protections for their children upon leaving a relationship with an abuser.
This year, on Saturday evening, May 5th, we plan to host the original hour-long play, Forbidden to Protect. The play depicts the true-life stories of women who lost custody of their children to an abusive ex-partner via the family court/divorce system of our country. The script is taken directly from actual court transcripts and interviews with the DV survivors whose stories are being depicted. The material is appropriately shocking and timely, and it has profound social justice implications. In participating, you would be contributing to the enlightenment of the general public about a serious pattern of societal injustice. I hope you will consider donating your skills to this cause.
The director and co-author of the play, Lundy Bancroft, is an internationally known author (Why Does He Do That?, The Batterer as Parent) and expert on the dynamics of battering relationships.
Lundy has asked me to reach out to local actors to cast this play, which will have a single performance on the evening of May 5th and will involve 2-3 rehearsals in the upcoming few weeks prior to the performance. He also informed me that the main roles will involve monologues of between 1000 and 1500 words, although it is my understanding that some roles involve fewer lines.
Please see below a description of the play and, beneath that, a list of the roles to be filled. A link at which the event is publicized is
If you would be interested in being in this production, please email me back at this address, firstname.lastname@example.org with a cc: to Lundy Bancroft at email@example.com. Also feel free to pass on this announcement to any of your theatre friends and colleagues. Prior acting experience is not necessary.
Dr. Mo Hannah
Professor of Psychology, Siena College
Forbidden to Protect is a stage show that depicts the true stories of seven cases from across the U.S. where family courts have taken children away from non-violent mothers to give them to violent batterers and child molesters. These stories were collected and compiled by Patrice Lenowitz and Lundy Bancroft. The words spoken in the play are almost entirely the actual words of the mothers and children we interviewed, along with the precise statements of judges and court-appointed evaluators from court
records. While each of these cases examined in isolation would seem unbelievable, taken together they form an inescapable portrayal of a national system of cruelty that oppresses and exploits women and children.
Our intention is for this play to be performed in communities throughout the United States, exposing the human rights abuses committed by family courts, and driving mandatory trauma-informed training and ACE* prevention goals to be met by all professionals involved in child custody decisions.
The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being. Exposure to child abuse and neglect will negatively impact the short and long-term mental and physical health and wellbeing of a child, as well as negatively affect their biological systems and structures. As such, the wide-ranging health and social consequences of ACEs make them a public health issue. A lack of commitment to act by family court and child welfare professionals is a significant obstacle to improved community health.
*FORBIDDEN TO PROTECT CAST*
Race/skin color unimportant except where noted. Ages are goals but not essential. The six main parts, listed first, all require extensive memorization, as these characters give monologues of between five and ten minutes in length, mostly closer to ten
** KIM: *30-60, female, African-American
** PRITHI: *30-60, female, East Indian
** AMELIA: *30-60 female, Latina
** SAVANNAH*: 30-60 female
** NICOLE: *30-60, female
** LOGAN: *15-25, male
We could also use, for small parts:
*TALIA*: 15 – 25, female
*HEATHER: *30-60, female
*JUDGE MICHAEL SMYTH*: any age, male
*JUDGE MARY THOMPSON*: any age, female
*ATTORNEY TERRY CHUCAS: *any age, male
*ATTORNEY JOHN WARREN*: any age, male
*PETER SANDERSON: *30 + male
*MARTIN: *any age, male
*GLORIA: *any age, female