Lucy Kirkwood's it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now is a play about modern-day sex trafficking. It was commissioned by Clean Break and first performed by the company at the Arcola Theatre in London on 7 October 2009.
The play centres on the lives of two women: young Croatian mother Dijana, who has been brought to England by a man called Babac, promising the world but eventually forcing her into prostitution; and Gloria, an opinionated West African migrant. Babac has told Dijana that once she has earned £20,000 she will be released from her duties and free to find the child she was forced to give up. Today she is only one client away from making the total she believes will earn her freedom.
The premiere at the Arcola Theatre was directed by Lucy Morrison and designed by Chloe Lamford, with Hara Yannas as Dijana and Madeline Appiah as Gloria. It was staged as a promenade production featuring a series of installations.
The play won the John Whiting Award in 2010 (jointly awarded with Tim Crouch's The Author).