• University of Sunderland Drama students with their Lecturer, Adelle Hulsmeier (fourth from the left)

University of Sunderland students take centre stage

Last week, we welcomed a group of talented University of Sunderland Drama students to Gentoo. The students put on a performance for our Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Workplace Champions that transcribed real life events through a multi-disciplinary performance as part of their undergraduate course.

The performance, Patterns of Purple Flowers, was inspired by the potential closure of the Wearside Women in Need refuge and lack of government funding for domestic abuse support and aimed to raise further awareness of domestic abuse. The group of 21 and 22-year-olds thoroughly researched the elements of domestic abuse and sensitively conducted interviews with victims and perpetrators to gain a real understanding of the subject matter. 

Adelle Hulsmeier, Senior Lecture in Drama, said: “The University’s Drama Department prides itself on its connections with outside projects. This year’s devised project about domestic abuse has allowed students to successfully access a range of different and relevant help centres in the North East that provide services to those who have experienced domestic abuse.”

She added: “Wearside Women in Need was potentially closing and Sunderland was going to be the only centre in the Country without a domestic abuse refuge. The aim of the performance was to impact the audience and make people go away and think ‘what more can I do to help?’ – that was really important to us.”

At Gentoo, we’re committed to tackling serious and widespread issues and can provide a range of support measures for staff experiencing domestic violence. We have 27 Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse (DVSA) workplace champions across the business who have undergone extensive training to be able to provide support to victims of domestic abuse.