University student Yvonne Ossei debuted her extracts of her play Face Up, at the Pleasance Theatre in Caledonian Road on Friday night. With a delivery of monologues including Queen Elizabeth I’s speech and an account of the true story of Sierra Leonian Hawa D Sesay’s experience of female genital mutilation.

33-year-old Yvonne, decided to put her drama and English education to use to create the play on the sensitive topic, inspired by a BBC news broadcast she watched years ago.

After reading Hawa’s story in a newspaper article and contacting her, Yvonne’s play was fully constructed.


Playwright Yvonne Ossei

Putting on a show of extracts from the play, Face Up was an emotional insight into a cultural practices that is rarely discussed on a public platform. With only certain communities in Africa and Asia practising female genital mutilation, otherwise known as cutting, the play started of with a normal mother and her two daughters discussing her children’s mysterious event of “becoming women” the following day.

The controversial event then takes place, and we are suddenly thrown into the future years after the cutting has happened and given an insight into how a supposed tradition has a negative affect on those involved.

With Yvonne still undergoing a BA English degree at Queen Mary University, there are plans for a full production showing of Face Up this time next year to coincide with International Day of the Girl.There are also plans to develop the drama into a film shortly afterwards.

The short snippet we did get of Face Up, gave an authentic account of the ways that female genital mutilation can affect those it happens to as well as the ones around them, and I hope to see the full production of the drama when it arrives.