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Land of Eagles - The Boyfriend Trick

Click here to read the blog post associated with this project

Project Team

Alison Porter, Theatre and Performance Studies PGR, writer and director. 

Polina Zelmanova, Film and Television Studies, student (PGT), 2021, videographer and camera operator

Georgia Smithies, Film and Television Studies. student (PGT), 2021, runner and COVID monitor

Alex Hobbs, Film and Television Studies, student (alumnus), 2020, film and sound editor

Ian O'Donoghue, Theatre and Performance Studies, staff, technical advisor and lighting design

Dr Margaret Shewring, Theatre and Performance Studies, staff (Emeritus), audio advisor

Dr Michael Pigott, Film and Television Studies, staff, advisor on projection

The team is female-led and brings together a range of nationalities, ages and skills providing a rich opportunity for shared learning and development. The team includes 3 members of staff with specialist technical knowledge and two arts professionals: Marisa Flamino, a professional dancer, originally from Portugal, whose performance provides the core material for the film and Jim Dawson, of Triple Dot Makers, a professional film maker, experienced in filming dance for camera, who will be mentoring the students through the setup and shoot. 


The Land of Eagles Project 

This project brings together a diverse team from across the Departments of Theatre & Performance Studies and Film & TV Studies to address the social problem of modern slavery, and in particular the trafficking of women for the sex trade. The project brings to life stories of victims and survivors in an innovative and creative way using audio recordings and film. The project is based around 5 audio monologues written by playwright and Theatre Studies PGR, Alison Porter, which tell the story from the different perspectives of the victim/survivor, her trafficker, her mother and her case worker.  

In Phase One of the project the Land of Eagles audio monologues were recorded by professional actors and were broadcast as part of a podcast about modern slavery by Medaille Trust (charity and safe house provider) during October and November 2021.  

Phase Two of the project, supported by IATL, involved filming and editing a dance sequence created to reflect the emotional journey of the survivor, The sequence was performed by the professional dancer, Maria Flamino, in a film entitled The Boyfriend Trick.  

Phase Three combined the dance film with the recorded monologues to form an installation. The film was projected, objects from the story displayed and the podcast made be accessible via a QR code on mobile phones enabling the audience to engage with different aspects of the story.  

The work touches on a number of important discourses including migration, social injustice and women's rights. My motivation for setting up the project was to create a deeper and more personal understanding of the abuse suffered by trafficked women in the hope that by making their stories relatable, audiences would engage with the subject and more action would be taken to prevent modern slavery in the UK.


Alison Porter, Theatre and Performance Studies PGR, writer and director.

Alison is an early career researcher in Theatre & Performance Studies and CADRE Scholarship holder. Her PhD research consists of an academic thesis on the use of factual material in verbatim plays about social justice and the creation of a portfolio of work about modern slavery and human trafficking. Alison is a playwright and poet and was longlisted for the National Poetry Prize in 2015 and 2019. She is also a trustee for the theatre company Out of Joint and had a previous career in business and criminal justice.