A RAW, compelling drama about domestic violence, developed in consultation with people involved in abusive relationships, is staged in Bradford next week.

You Forgot the Mince is a powerful portrait of an intense, passionate and ultimately abusive relationship that spirals out of control.

It is the debut play by Yorkshire writer Francesca Joy, who spend two years researching and developing it. Her research included interviews with victims of domestic abuse and she attended focus groups with former offenders and counselling groups with men who have a history of violence against women. She also spoke to prisoners, prison officers and probation workers, and did a week-long training course with Safe Ground at the National Offender Management Unit.

The play centres on three characters - Rosa, Niko and Lily. Rosa, who lives with her grandma, Lily, has just finished college and can’t wait to leave home, then she meets Niko. They fall in love, but their relationship is tested when Rosa leaves for London and Niko ends up in prison. The lives of each characters is falling apart, but no-one is talking about it.

The play, which features choreographed movement and music, is described as "a moving exploration of love, loss, cause and effect".

Miss Joy hopes it will raise awareness of abusive relationships and activate change. "You Forgot the Mince is invested in truth, and with truth there is the opportunity for change," she said. "If it changes even one person's life for the better, then the play will have been a success for me."

The tour is accompanied by an outreach programme of drama-based workshops delivered to probation services and community centres, giving people a chance to express themselves, through drama and tell their own stories.

Miss Joy said her play was influenced by people she has known or viewed from a distance, "all of whom have fallen in love, had their heart broken and been through some of the biggest mental and physical struggles I've ever seen".

"I want You Forgot the Mince to inspire others to make a positive change in their lives. I wrote it to make a difference, for people to feel able to share their own story," she said. "We are all humans, and humans make mistakes, but we have choices and this play explores how some of the choices we make can affect others."

She added: "I feel there is a level of acceptance when it comes to abuse. When speaking to friends or family in Leeds, I found they accepted domestic abuse as a normal part of a relationship. There are some amazing groups here in Yorkshire that are campaigning against it and supporting victims."

Miss Joy said the play was "created organically, beginning with myself writing everywhere I could - in coffee shops, in the park, in bed, between work shifts and performing in shows."

"It started as a one-woman show. I watched a lot of theatre and read as many plays as I could to gain insight into writing for stage. It comes down to writing from your own voice," she added.

"I raised funds from Arts Council England and Leeds Inspired to conduct two research and development stages, at Bradford Playhouse and Slung Low's HUB. I played around with the characters and questioned their stories with two different casts and directors, and held a 'sharing' with people who had been where my characters had been and could relate to the play."

* You Forgot the Mince is at Theatre in the Mill, Bradford, on Thursday, October 13.