The Preston Bill – Andy Smith (The Storey, Lancaster)

  Andy Smith’s The Preston Bill is a one-man tour through a twentieth and twenty-first century history of events that are personal and epic: chronicle the imagined life of an ordinary, Preston-born, Northern, working-class man, Bill, and mark local, regional, national and international events that underpin and shape a shifting social-political landscape. As the chronicler … Continue reading

Escaped Alone – Caryl Churchill

Escaped Alone (now playing at the Royal Court Theatre) evinces Churchill writing at her most eloquent and politically charged finest. Not since Top Girls in 1982 has she given us an all-female cast: here, four women in their seventies gather in a sunny garden to gossip over afternoon tea. But this fifty-minute drama brings a … Continue reading

Here We Go – Caryl Churchill

Here We Go, Caryl Churchill’s short, 45-minute play at the National, directed by Dominic Cooke, has divided the critics. They either love it or loathe it. I find myself being schizophrenically split between being deeply moved by the play’s reflections on mortality and yet somewhat frustrated by the lack of a more explicit, palpable political … Continue reading

The House – Carran Waterfield, 25th November

Stories of women’s experience of the workhouse shape the solo performance of The House, devised and performed by Carran Waterfield, and created as part of Jenny Hughes’  AHRC-funded research project ‘Poor Theatres’ (http://blog.poortheatres.manchester.ac.uk/).  The eighteenth-century Heron Corn Mill at Milnthorpe, Cumbria (http://www.heronmill.org/) provided an atmospheric setting for the piece as we sat listening to historical … Continue reading

‘Female Narrative’ Sphinx Salon, London, 14th November 2015

Sue Parrish organised this valuable Salon in response to comments on ‘strong female roles’ by Vicky Featherstone, published in the Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/strong-female-roles-make-audiences-uncomfortable-says-leading-director-a6674276.html. It was an inspirational meeting: wonderful insights from women writers, performers and makers across the generations; such a tonic to be in a room full of ‘women-and-theatre’ conversations. My thanks go to Sue … Continue reading

Waking the Feminists .

On Wednesday 28 October, the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre, launched its programme to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising – an event that ultimately led to the founding of the Irish State. The Abbey Theatre and its members were actively involved in both the Rising itself and the debates around the founding of … Continue reading