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Bella Heesom’s taut new comic exploration of female sexuality comes to the Ovalhouse

Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WRITTEN by Bella Heesom and directed by Donnacadh O’Briain, Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself runs at the Ovalhouse Theatre from May 9 to May 25, 2019.

Combining intimate stories, comic dialogues, and – when words feel like a cage – dance, Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself is a celebratory exploration of female sexuality, taking audiences on a journey of self-discovery through pleasure, shame, pride, fury and jubilation.

Male gaze may have influenced how we see ourselves and how we engage with sexuality, but what even IS the female gaze? Bella Heesom’s personal journey through how she got to think and behave the way she did, and then turned around and questioned it all, is played out as a tug of war between brain and clitoris; the intellectual vs the sensual, in a celebration of what it means to be the proud owner of a vulva.

Why would a confident, 21st century woman feel inadequate when talking to her partner about sex? Featuring really helpful ideas planted during adolescence, such as ‘Only Boys Masturbate’, ‘You Are A Sex Object’, and ‘Female Genitals are Gross’, this is a story of shame-free sensuality and overcoming the desperate need to be ‘normal’.

The cast comprises Bella Heesom and Sara Alexander.

Co-produced and supported by Ovalhouse, Rejoicing at Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself is from the team who made My World Has Exploded A Little Bit, is directed by Donnacadh O’Briain, Olivier Award winner for Rotterdam, and has movement direction by Liz Ranken, a founding member of DV8.

Killing Eve producers Sid Gentle are already working with Bella Heesom to adapt the play for television. Executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle has said: “Her refreshing and radical honestly is compelling” with fellow executive producer Gina Mingacci adding: “Bella is a wildly exciting new voice who has written a story that will resonate truthfully not just with women, but with anyone who has struggled to understand who they are. I’m thrilled to be a part of the fantastic team bringing this to life.”

Bella Heesom said: “‘I’m so excited about this show. It’s great to be working with my partner-in-crime Donnacadh again – he’s the only man I’d trust with putting my wondrous vulva on the stage! He’s an incredibly sensitive listener, who holds the space beautifully for me and our team of spectacular women. I’m also delighted to be sharing the stage with Sara Alexander again – she is the perfect Clitoris, as she fills me with joy, and this time we get to dance too, as we’re working with the legendary Liz Ranken, founder member of the inspirational DV8 physical theatre company.”

This production is suitable for ages 12 +.

Tickets: £16, £10 concessions (previews £12 and £8 concessions). To book, call the box office on 020 7582 7680 or visit www.ovalhouse.com/.

Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm.

Running Time: Performance of 90 minutes, 15 minute interval and discussion of 45 minutes.