Skip To Main Content

Film Screening: Sistren Theatre Collective Sweet Sugar Rage (1985)

1–9 July 2022

Presented as part of Cinenova’s The Work We Share programme

Premiered: 1 July 2022 6–8.30pm (there will be two screenings: 6-7pm and 7.30-8.30pm)

Continued: 2 July, 8 July, 9 July 2022, 12–5pm

Presented by Cinenova The Work We Share: a national public programme of digitised films from the Cinenova collection addressing representations of gender, race, sexuality, health and community. The films are captioned by Collective Text, and supported by response commissions from contemporary artists and writers.

Grand Union hosted their digitised film, Sweet Sugar Rage by Sistren Theatre Collective (1985) alongside a commission by artist Natasha Bonnelame inspired by the work.

Sweet Sugar Rage exposed the exploitation of women’s labour in Jamaica’s sugar cane fields and shared the themes and methods of Sistren’s workshops and theatre in the context of their wider efforts in education, employment rights and community activism. The film combined the testimony of women that work in the cane fields with evidence of their working conditions and their employers attitudes as the basis of drama workshops that bring rural and urban women into dialogue to analyse the exploitation of working class women’s labour and to challenge the patriarchal attitudes of employers and unions alike. Following the methods of Freire’s ‘conscietization’ and Brecht’s ‘alienation method,’ we see the women collectively take charge of staging and re-staging ways to challenge the systems that oppress them, which offers methodologies of learning together to acquire the feminist and decolonial tools to effect social change.