Things We Do Not Know: Review

Things We Do Not Know is a show that explores the lives and experiences of street sex workers in Bristol. It’s been running for three years now in different venues around Bristol. This year, the show is running from the 15th-18th November at PRSC, and I encourage you to book yourself a ticket. 

By collaborating with the charity One25, the stories of how women found themselves in street sex work and their experiences of the horrors they encounter are performed through verbatim theatre and music. The space was laid out in such a way so that the performance was at the centre of the room, meaning the interactions between the audience and the actresses was very intimate. We were told at the beginning of the show that all the words are in fact what has been said and written (whether online or in interviews etc.). This was followed by a darkly comical scene, whereby comments from men on Reddit regarding how to ‘pick up a prostitute’ were enacted. Laughs were laced with shock, as it seemed hard to believe that men could so casually throw around degrading comments about women. However, as the show continued and the audience became all the more aware of the realities of street sex work, the audience were silent as more comments were told about what men thought about sex workers. 

The lives of these women were shared to us as one by one, the actresses took on their identities. During songs that we all recognised yet eerily fitted the subject at hand, a name would be spray painted onto a large piece of paper attached to the wall. This was followed by her story. Each story and the way it was told was completely captivating yet brutal. At times, the real voices of the women were played as they recounted their stories, therefore the audience was constantly reminded that despite watching a show, the material was grounded in truth. 

Before the show, the audience was given a piece of paper asking, ‘What are you worth?’. I heard quizzical responses to such a question. Did this mean financially? Or, was it something deeper? Responses to the question were interpreted in a variety of ways, but it seemed to me that the aim of it was to remind us all that everyone has worth. That no one should be treated the way that street sex workers are treated. In fact, it seemed evident that the One25 van was always there to remind these women of their worth in the midst of the most dark nights. 

I would recommend this show to anyone, however as someone who lives in Bristol and studies at UoB, it seems all the more important to be educated as to what is occurring around this city every night. 

To find out more about the charity One25 or to donate, click here for their website.

To find out more about Things We Do Not Know and book a ticket, click here