2020-21 | After birth: A play about maternal mental health

About the project

Two abstract shapes reminiscent of a purple and a beige comma representing a mother holding a baby

National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit logo

Project lead:

Dr Rachel Rowe | Nuffield Department of Population Health Big Data Institute  |  

University of Oxford


Partner Organisation:

North Wall Arts Centre  | Zena Forster 




‘after birth’ (previously entitled 'Stitch Up') is a play steeped in emotion and drama that draws on the findings of original research and women's lived experiences of mental illness during pregnancy and after birth to raise awareness, reduce stigma and encourage discussion about maternal mental health. A collaboration between a theatrical team, led by playwright Zena Forster and producer Emma Dolman, and researchers at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) in the Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH), the ultimate aim of the play is to improve care and outcomes for affected women, their babies and families. 

Support from the TORCH Theatres Seed Fund took this established knowledge exchange collaboration further by funding the development, production and performance of a full-length theatrical play at the North Wall Arts Centre in 2021. Further possibilities are being explored around touring and other dissemination of the work.

You can read more about the evaluation of the project here.

after birth was selected for the 2020 Propeller award:


Find out more