About the show

Award winning directors Simon Frederick and Suzann McLean come together to stage a new play based on the lived experiences of Black British women and their journeys with breast cancer. Unseen Unheard: The untold breast cancer stories of Black Women in the UK is written by trailblazing playwright, Naomi Denny, and will premiere at Theatre Peckham for a limited run this April. The play is commissioned and funded by Gilead Sciences Ltd and will be presented by Theatre Peckham in association with Black Women Rising.  

The play is based on the stories of six women from Black Women Rising (BWR), a pioneering cancer support project founded by The Leanne Pero Foundation, that seeks to address the inequalities faced by Black women undergoing cancer treatment.  Set in real time on a normal evening the six women gather to unravel their shared experiences of the abnormality that Black women experience through their diagnosis. As one would expect, the women invite us into their world with an honest and candid insight that combines honesty and humour. There is a real-world objective to staging this play. None more important than changing habits that will lead to saving lives. 

Each performance will host a post-show panel discussion, which will be facilitated by award-winning community champion Leanne Pero, founder and CEO of Black Women Rising. Women with experiences of breast cancer attending will be invited to share their experiences around the topics discussed in the play, so that a report showcasing real voices can be presented to key change-makers.

Established in 2019 by award winning community champion Leanne Pero after her own battle with breast cancer at just 30 years old, The Leanne Pero Foundation aims to address the gaps in care for POC with cancer. After her own battle with the disease, Leanne realised that mainstream cancer services were not inclusive enough and did not provide adequate support tailored to the black and ethnic community. Similarly, the community were not engaging with medical services to gather the much-needed data to make the changes.  

At the centre of the charity is The Black Women Rising project which has achieved so much in its short lifetime from the UK’s first all-Black cancer portrait exhibition, a popular podcast series “Untold Cancer Stories”, brand awareness collaborations with PrettyLittleThing, Stella McCartney, Estée Lauder to name just a few, and the first of its kind publication Black Women Rising: The Magazine – now on its second edition.  

The heart of the project lies in its monthly peer-to-peer support groups which have grown from the original in person event in South East London to five different online groups which support different sections of the Black community (under 40s, over 41s, newly diagnosed, living with cancer and family and loved ones).  

The mission at Black Women Rising is to educate, inspire and bring opportunities for women from the Black community, to connect with one another and share their stories, without fear or shame. 

Empowered women empower women. 

With the aim to reach and provide access to people across all communities, the producers have chosen to make all tickets free of charge with a suggested donation of £7.50 (minus processing fees) which will be donated to Black Women Rising. Should you wish to donate more than £7.50 the remaining amount will be split between both charities Black Women Rising and Theatre Peckham. 

Click the BOOK NOW button below to request tickets for either performance of Unseen Unheard on Wednesday 3rd or Thursday 4th May, 7.30pm at Theatre Peckham, 221 Havil Street, London SE5 7SB. Your booking is not confirmed until you have been issued a ticket by Theatre Peckham’s box office. Spaces are limited and subject to availability. You will also be emailed a donation link separately. 

The play is commissioned and funded by Gilead Sciences Ltd. 

Job code: UK-UNB-3716

Date of preparation: April 2023