News article 19 Oct 2016

The team at Foto-Cewek’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) have acted as scientific advisors for a series of seven provocative plays and four challenging debates for the Royal Exchange Theatre’s festival B!RTH in Manchester.

The Royal Exchange commissioned seven international female playwrights to create new plays exploring their country’s approach to childbirth and the cultural pressures that surround it. The festival runs over four days and includes a daily panel discussion and a number of workshops that explore the themes brought to light in the plays.

Head of CMNH, Professor Nynke van den Broek, said: “CMNH sees firsthand the impact of inequities in the care of mothers and their babies around the world, and we are delighted to have been invited to participate in B!RTH, which aims to spark debate on a global scale. The plays focus on a number of issues that CMNH’s work addresses in countries around the world, and it has been fantastic to be part of a creative partnership which shines a light on the different experiences of women through pregnancy and childbirth.”

CMNH have contributed to the festival, providing questions and coordinating members for each of the panel discussions.  Dr Mary McCauley, along with other CMNH staff and volunteers, have provided 10 blogs for the B!RTH’s website, highlighting the global inequities in childbirth and ensuring that the voice of women in low resource settings are heard. The team will also lead a workshop about the work of CMNH in the festival site on Saturday, and Professor van den Broek is one of the panelists in the Finale B!RTH Debate, which takes place on Saturday and is a collaboration with the Guardian Live.

The panel discussion will be live-streamed at where you can also learn more about B!RTH.