Voices from the Knitting Circle – Documentary

Photo of the two awards received at the Picture This Film Festival.

Photo of the two awards received at “Picture This…Film Festival

The digital journey of the documentary in autumn 2020: online screening and discussion panel with actors. Read more and watch the recording.

An award-winning documentary that provides a chilling glimpse into the secret worlds and stolen years inside the long care asylums. Were all these people truly Mad, Bad and Dangerous? Who is next?  

Julie McNamara created The Knitting Circle in 2013, a theatre production based on the testimonies of people who survived the long care asylums closed in the 1980s. Each of the actors were matched with people who lived or worked inside long stay hospitals.  

This short documentary film follows the voices of some of the extraordinary people who entrusted us with their life stories. What reverberates is the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit, and the art of laughter amongst the tears.

“It was love and mischief that saw us through.”

Mary, aged 80

Picture this…film festivalCanada’s international disability film festival has awarded Voices from the Knitting Circle Best Documentary over 30 minutes and Best of Festival at their 17th annual festival, April 11-14 2018 

Picture This film festival Picture This film festival


Director Julie McNamara
Camera Operator & Editor Zeynep Dagli
Additional Editing Services Lesley Willis
Executive Producer Chas De Swiet
Production Manager Rhiannon Kelly 
Interviewer Rachel High 
Storytellers Iris Noden, Naomi Luke, Paul, Derek McCarthy, Rosie Clarke, Mary Robins, Shriya Mehta, Priscilla Surfaz, Gertrude Grey, Miriam, Betty
Actors Penelope Freeman, Deni Francis, Mandy Colleran 
Additional images provided by Mark Davis 
Audio Description script Louise Fryer
Audio description Rhiannon Kelly 
Titling Joshua Branson, Shaza Hamza 

“Despite the hideous acts these individuals were subjected to, ‘Voices’ imbues them with a magnificent fortitude that leaves their dignity forever intact.”
James Zaatka-Haas, Disability Arts Online

“…very engaging… innovative camera work… strong acting… brilliant imagery… creatively put together… human emotions exposed… authentic…”
Jury comments from Picture This… Film Festival 2018

“This was an amazing film, tender, brutal, beautiful and joyful, every community should see.”
“When stories surface from conspiracy and cowardice into the light of day the sun burns bright.”
“Moving to hear people’s stories. Not to be forgotten.”

Audience feedback (Hackney Picturehouse, June 2018)

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