In conversation with…

Filed in #Emilymatters, Writing by on July 9, 2020 0 Comments

Twitter | Instagram | Email

In conversation with Emilija Ellen

Emilija Ellen is an actor, voice-over artist and producer. She plays Sarah in my new project, which was devised during the UK’s Covid-19 Lockdown.

It’s Mandy’s 50th Birthday celebration and you’re invited! 

At its heart, this story aims to empower anyone — directly or indirectly—  affected by domestic abuse, such as a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour who suspects something isn’t right.

The central character is Mandy, who was diagnosed with MS in 1994 (like the actor, Rhona Finch, who plays her). 

Mandy brought up her children (Sarah and Ralph) on her own, but has been with her partner Dave for a few years now. They live in Leicester

Mandy is a woman you might know.

From left: Sarah (Emilija Ellen), Jenny (Moira Malone).
From left: Ralph (Dan Edge), Mandy (Rhona Finch).

I have known Emilija for several years, having met through the much missed Brian Astbury, a true global citizen and towering creative force.

Originally written as a screenplay, the story would work equally well as an audio drama.

Family, friendship and hope

Based on personal testimony: ‘Dodgy Smells — Happy Birthday Mum!’ is a celebration of a courageous woman, with her nearest and dearest.

During our informal chat, we discuss why we believe this story matters and how it can help inform and empower through the power of storytelling. 

We go on to talk about Emilija’s approach to and thoughts on acting in a medium that is a little rough around the edges — how our work with Brian Astbury has helped us embrace those challenges to create a powerful performance. 

The title of the piece is also explained, as part of our Instagram Live Chat that is now accessible on the @tofreedomscause IGTV channel. 

Cast & Creative team

MANDY — Rhona Finch
SARAH — Emilija Ellen
JENNY — Moira Malone
RALPH — Dan Edge

Created and produced by Kate Willoughby


National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Refuge) — England & Wales (24hrs): 0808 2000 247

Women’s Aid (UK) — Messing service, Email, Survivor’s Handbook, Forum:  

Women’s Aid — Support for disabled women — information & resources:

Refuge — Support for disabled women — information page:

Stay Safe East (for Waltham Forest & Newham only) — information and contact details:

Glasgow Women’s Aid — Helpline and email support 10am — 4pm Monday to Friday: 0141 553 2022.

GWA email support:

Hemat Gryffe Women’s Aid Helpline (BAME specific services) — 0141 353 0859

Muslim Women’s Network Helpline & website: 0800 999 5786 /

Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre (Scotland): 08088 010 301

NSPCC FGM Helpline: 0800 028 3550

Respect (UK) works with perpetrators, male victims and young people using violence in their close relationships:

Men’s Advice Line — Encouraging male victims of domestic abuse to #TalkItOver:

Samaritans (UK) Helpline & website : phone, email, app & more: 116 123 /

Step Up | Vote | Lead | Because #youmatter | 🌍 #Emilymatters 📸 credits © Kate Willoughby @kw8_creates |

@katewilloughby8 #kw8creates #weetales #covid19


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *