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Who Runs the World? - the King's Head Theatre's new season of female playwrights

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN DIRECT response to the under-representation of female voices on stage, the King’s Head Theatre has announced a season of work by female playwrights. Entitled Who Runs the World?, it runs from April 24 to May 12, 2018.

King’s Head Theatre Senior Producer Louisa Davis says: “Conversations about gender equality are nothing new, but as a female theatremaker it was becoming more and more frustrating seeing so much stage time being given to male voices – or to go one step further, to see my gender or issues affecting my gender only being told by a male voice.

“Why is it that female voices are struggling to be heard? Why is it that the people who can influence these decisions don’t actively open doors and be part of a positive change? There seems to be an assumption, from some high profile statements made on the issue, that ‘there aren’t enough good female writers’ or that ‘they won’t make enough money at the box office’ – when did this become gospel? Why don’t we challenge these assumptions? Theatre tells the stories of our society, but from a gender perspective it has been one-sided for too long.

“We wanted to do something to join the movement of addressing this culture, and support the efforts of so many others around us in giving female voices the spotlight they deserve. We wanted to see a change – so we are doing something about it.”

Who Runs the World? will see Sarah Milton’s Tumble Tuck, transferring from a critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe 2017 run, headline with four new pieces by up-and-coming female writers – Instinct Theatre’s mental health drama In The Shadow of the Mountain, Laura McGrady’s sibling comedy Baby Box, a night of Shakespearean shorts Voices from the Deep, and NOF*CKSGIVEN, the first play by new writer Daisy King.

LISTINGS

Tumble Tuck from BackHere! Theatre. Written and performed by Sarah Milton, it runs from April 24 to May 12. Tuesday to Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 3.30pm.

Daisy’s swimming the relay, but her legs still jiggle and her front crawl is ‘a bit f**king feminine… Tumble Tuck is a funny, brutal and honest piece that seeks to examine what it means to be successful in a world where medals matter. This fast paced, one woman show follows the story of Daisy, a young woman struggling to understand how to define herself as successful.

In The Shadow of the Mountain from Instinct Theatre and Quantum Frolic Theatre. Written by Felicity Huxley-Miners, it runs from April 24 to April 29. Tuesday to Saturday at 8.30pm, Sunday at 5.30pm.

Rob stands on the edge of oblivion just as the chaotic Ellie careers into his life. They desperately need each other, but is Ellie struggling with her own Borderline Personality Disorder really the best person to try and help? This touching, funny story explores a relationship born in the throes of a mental health crisis as a couple struggles to find their place in the world.

Baby Box from Sleepless Theatre. Written by Laura McGrady, it runs from May 1 to May 6. Tuesday to Saturday at 8.30pm, Sunday at 5.30pm.

All things considered, your lack of boy bits is only a tiny hiccup. Baby Box is a frank and darkly comic exploration of the wonderfully dysfunctional relationship between siblings, complete with all the ins and outs that come with having a vagina.

Voices from the Deep from Paperclip Theatre. Written by Verity Fine Hosken, Rachel Archer, Samia Djilli and Jenny Richards, it’s on May 7 at 7pm.

Voices from the Deep is a night of shorts set in Shakespearean verse that blends comedy, satire, heart-wrenching drama and cheeky penmanship into one. What to expect: saucy letter writing, heat rash, a few unexpected twists on history, and a hot arid desert. We witness women from the four corners of the globe navigating lives faced with hostility, violence, sexual intrigue and sometimes, plain boredom.

NOF*CKSGIVEN from Bruised Sky Productions. Written by Daisy King, it runs from May 8 to May 12. Tuesday to Saturday at 8.30pm, Saturday at 5pm.

Stacy goes out with her mate Stella, until Stella goes home, then Stacy goes out with whoever’s left standing, then on her own. Hiding her homelessness, living in her chaos, running just as fast as she can, laughing as hard as she can – but she’s getting left behind, the last one left standing at the party and the party is ending. An anti-slut-shaming, heart-warming tale of what it’s like to be a fiercely independent women, drenched in the desire to belong, but tarnished by the desperation to be liked.

Also at the King’s Head Theatre: Ballistic (until March 17) and Charles Court Opera’s The Mikado (March 22 to April 21, 2018).