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A North Derbyshire WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) production

Words: WASPI

STUNG is a play about WASPI women who thought they would retire with a State Pension at 60 like generations of women before them. How wrong they were! The Government moved the goal-posts not once, but twice and these women bore the brunt. But, you can’t keep a group of strong, determined women down for long.

The Government decided in 1995 to equalise the State Pension age for all. There’s nothing wrong with equality, but women who started working at 15 years old in the late 1960s early 1970s were always told that they would receive their State Pension at 60. In 2011, the Government needed to save even more money, so they changed the State Pension age again, this time to 66 for both men and women. Many women impacted by the 1995 changes, were impacted again by these additional changes. So they had their State Pension age changed twice! The Government callously “paused” the communications about the 1995 changes, so that women born after 1953 were never told that their State Pension age had increased to 65! The Government restarted communications in 2012 to tell people that their State Pension age had gone up to 66.

Many women didn’t receive these letters until they were 58 or 59 years old, expecting to retire at 60. Many had already made decisions earlier that were hard to reverse. Some retired early to look after elderly relatives or grandchildren, some made lifestyle changes so that they had a better work/life balance leading up to retirement, many declined opportunities for advancement as they thought they only had one or two years left to work. When they finally received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) telling them about the changes, they were devastated.

Apparently, there had been some adverts in newspapers and on television about it. Who would expect to hear of the most significant change to State Pensions in 50 years from an advert? Especially when the official Government website clearly stated that the State Pension age for women was 60 right up until 2016!

Women from all over the country got together and formed campaign groups under the WASPI banner. We weren’t going to take this lying down. The Government was going to hear exactly what we thought about it!

STUNG is about the journey of one of these groups – North Derbyshire WASPI – representing women from Bolsover, Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire. Women tell their actual stories with frankness, sharing moments of poignancy and absolute hilarity. It's our story, but it's also very like your story. Come and see it at West Studios Chesterfield on 4th March (matinee 3pm and evening 7pm) or 5th March (matinee only 2pm).

Tickets available from:

£8 for wage earners, £6 for concessions.

These remarkable women are bringing their story to you. Written by Lynn Ludditt, directed by Carole Copeland, filming by Creative Forum and Original Music by Rob Laughlin. Funded by the Arts Council.


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