Edinburgh Fringe 2010: FAIR TRADE




Shatterbox Theatre Company

Pleasance King Dome (Venue no 23), Bristo Square, Edinburgh
4th August to 30th August 2010 @ 3.30pm (1 hour)

Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp

Fair Trade is a true tale; the accounts of how two women came from abroad to the United Kingdom, with false impressions of how life would be for them.

In the production, the women have been given false names to protect their identity. The two women, Elena (Anna Holbek) and Samai (Sarah Amankwah), left behind family in poor hometowns, hoping to make something of their lives in Britain. However, as the story unfolds nothing could have been further from the truth, as a rather bleak journey emerges.

The two vulnerable women were tricked into coming to Britain and forced to work as prostitutes, not by choice! For them coming to Britain had been a fate worse than death, their dreams of a better life were totally shattered.

Most people would agree being forced into prostitution by entrapment and slavery is no life at all, at the brutal mercy of those running sex trafficking industries.
Fair Trade goes much further, than visual performance; it makes you think about why the problems of sex trafficking, human trafficking are there in the first place.

Perhaps more could be done educating people from abroad not to come here in the first place, as there are no perils of life in Britain, what needs explained is it is a rough ride, not bed of roses.

People from abroad have little or no access to government benefits. It is not easy, finding somewhere to stay and pay rent. Finding a job is difficult, and keeping a job even more difficult.

Poorer countries abroad should be helped to be self sufficient, back to grassroots, to help people sustain employment in their own countries, through self employment, start up grants etc, education.

The British government could perhaps send a task force abroad educating people not to come to Britain, as all is not what it seems, raising awareness of sex trafficking, human trafficking.

Fair Trade highlights sex traffickers, the vultures who are ready to pounce on their prey, offering false employment, places to stay, luring the vulnerable with false hopes, only to have shattered dreams.

One line stands out for me from Fair Trade, as Elena (Anna Holbek) describes how her dreams had been shattered. She says, “I dreamed of seeing Trafalgar Square, but not like this! This says it all!

The theatre is full, a jam packed audience, quite a lot of women! I couldn’t help thinking about how they may feel, when the choice to have sex with whom they choose be taken away from them, by force and brutality.

From the faces of the women in the audience, they probably felt this was gut-wrenching stuff to watch, as it highlighted the true personal stories of those trapped against their will in the sex trafficking industry.

Fair Trade is an outstanding production with brilliant acting and an outstanding
script, with excellent props.

Applause should go to Anna Holbek and Emma Thompson, (Academy Award-winning actress). Both Executive Producers have triumphed, with this outstanding production. I recommend Fair Trade for an Edinburgh Fringe 2010 award.



Q Who wrote the script?

A Fair Trade was written by Shatterbox Theatre Company founders Anna
Holbek and Shelley Davenport with Kate Ferguson.

Q Who was the Director?

A Lotte Waterman, directed over an eight-month process of workshops,
interviews and research.

Q How did you meet Elena and Samai, the women this true story is based

A We were introduced to them by the Helen Bamber Foundation.

Q Emma Thompson is not in the production, what role does she have?

A Emma volunteered to be executive producer for Shatterbox. She is
also Chair of the Helen Bamber Foundation, which raises awareness about
human trafficking all over the world.

Q Is this a World Premiere for this year’s Fringe then?

A We had a trial run with Fair Trade at the Pleasance, Islington in
February 2009; the public could not believe this was happening in real
life! We were not ready to come to Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. The
production for this year’s fringe is our world premiere, as it is a
different story.

Q Why would you say your production tells a better story about sex
trafficking compared to others, at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe?

A Our production is well researched, is a true story based on two
women’s real life accounts, they did not leave anything out when we
interviewed them, we are also a professional theatre company and last
but not least a fabulous team who work well together.

Q Do you plan to make Fair Trade into be a movie then, any offers on
the table?

A We have been approached by a few people, watch this space!

Q So will Fair Trade be going on tour then?

A It is extremely expensive to tour; we have been lucky and extremely
grateful to Emma Thompson who supported us to come to the Edinburgh
Fringe. However, it is hugely expensive to tour; we are open to any
offers of help. Feel free to contact our press and marketing manager,
Will for more information, will.wood@multitudemedia.co.uk. More
information can also be obtained from our website at


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