Bechdel Theatre Podcast


(illustration by Megan-Ceri Dabbs)

Beth Watson and Pippa Sa talk gender representation on stage and all things #WomenInTheatre with a different special guest on each episode. Featuring discussion of current and upcoming #BechdelTest friendly theatre shows.

If you’d like to suggest show we should be talking about, or a guest to interview, email or tweet @BechdelTheatre.

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Episode Nine
Motherhood and memories with Comfort Moye
Comfort Moye is an Anthropology student and her University’s POC officer. We watched Apologia at Trafalgar Studios and Racheal Ofori’s Portrait at Rich Mix.
Comfort’s #FeministFaves are Plantation Memories book by Grada Kilomba, and the TV series Girlfriends.


More recommendations…

Six at The Arts 18 December, 8 January, 15 January and 22 January
Calm Down Dear at CPT 16th January – 4th February
Led by Racheal Ofori and Heather Agyepong’s So Many Reasons.
There or Here The Park 23 Jan – 17 Feb
Collective Rage 24 Jan – 17 Feb
Rita, Sue and Bob Too Royal Court Jan 9 – 27

The Andrea Project Sat 20 Jan 

My Mum’s A Twat Royal Court Jan 8 – 20
Bechdel Theatre Workshop at The Mono Box Jan 30th
VAULT Festival begins Jan 24th, including The Breaks In You & I 31 Jan — 04 Feb
Episode Eight

Feminist Witches with Lauren Barri Holstein and Michelle Barwood


 More info about Episode Eight…


The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein also known as ‘The Famous,’ is a New York-raised, London-based feminist performance maker who holds a PhD on ‘The Agency of the Displayed Female Body: The Political Potential of Negative Affects in Contemporary Feminism and Performance’.

Lauren’s #FeministFaves are Sara Ahmed‘s book ‘The Promise of Happiness, Lauren Berlant, Nao Bustamante, Ann Liv Young, Julia Bardsley, Kira O’Reilly, Maria La Ribot, Lois Weaver and Split Britches.


Michelle Barwood is an actor, writer, shit feminist, bad vegan, witch. Michelle watched Queens of Sheba, produced by Nouveau Riche at Camden People’s Theatre, and In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503.

Michelle‘s #FeministFave is Eve Ensler’s One Billion Rising project.


More recommendations…

Jubilee at Manchester Royal Exchange until Nov 18 & Lyric Hammersmith in Feb.

Damsel Develops The Bunker Nov 13 – 19.

The Butch Monologues Soho Theatre Nov 21 – 24th

We Are The Lions, Mr Manager! TARA Theatre Nov 21 – 25 and touring until May.

Pecs Soho Theatre 4 – 9 December

Bad Roads Royal Court Wed 15 Nov – Sat 23 Dec

Episode Seven

Whitewashing in ‘Angel’ at the Arcola. With Tutku Barbaros.

 More info about Episode Seven…
Tutku Barbaros is an actor, writer, and member of Plunge Theatre. Tutku’s review of Angel at The Arcola was published in The Tung and Sister-hood.


Tutku’s #FeministFaves are Mona EltahawyDeeya KhanLeyla Hussain (Three #FeministFaves who also featured in Epsiode 3!), the essay collection Nasty Women, and the sitcom My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.


More recommendations…

A Dangerous Woman & Elsa at Soho Theatre Nov 4.

Wings at the Young Vic until Nov 4.

Portrait by Racheal Ofori UK Tour Nov 1 – 12.

Apologia at Trafalgar Studios until Nov 18.

Notorious created and performed by The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein UK tour Oct 20 – Nov 23.

White by Koko Brown at Ovalhouse Nov 15 – 25.

No Place Like Hope at The Old Red Lion Nov 7 – 26.

Muvvahood by Libby Liburd London Tour 3 Nov to 1 Dec.

Contractions produced by Deafinitely Theatre at New Diorama Nov 1 – 29.


Episode Six

Come As You Are festival with Lucy J Skilbeck, Lucy Parkinson, and Amie Taylor.



More info about Episode Six…
Lucy J Skilbeck (aka Leo) is one of the founders of award-winning theatre company Milk Presents, and writer and director of BULLISH: a new mythical play with songs, negotiating ancient and new territories in trans-masculine gender and identity. BULLISH is headlining Camden People’s Theatre’s Come As You Are festival of performance that interrogates and celebrates gender from cis to trans, from binary to beyond.
Lucy Parkinson is one of the four performers in BULLISH and stars in JOAN, also written by Skilbeck, which won critical acclaim (and a Bechdel Theatre sticker) at Edinburgh Fringe last year, and has been touring for the past year.
Leo’s #FeministFave is performance artist David Hoyle, whose legendary anti-drag persona The Divine David became an alternative LGBTQ cult icon in the 90s, and who continues to make performances and films which address class and social issues, mainstream gay culture, and his own mental health.
Lucy Parkinson’s #FeministFave is their Mum, who’s not on Wikipedia or social media (as far as we know), but apparently goes to see all their shows, so if you want to maximise chances of crossing paths with said Mother, we recommend you book to see Parkinson in JOAN on tour, or performing as Drag King LoUis CYfer, as well as catching BULLISH at CPT.
Amie Taylor is the founder of LGBTQ Arts, a review website which has recently launched Raising Our Voices, an initiative to support and showcase up-and-coming LBT+ writers. Read her article on Huffington Post about why LGBTQ+ representation can’t mean just cis gay men.
Amie’s #FeministFave is actor and comedian Jessica Williams, who is the star of Netflix original romantic comedy film The Incredible Jessica James. Jessica is also one half of the brilliant 2 Dope Queens podcast.
Bullish is at Camden People’s Theatre until Sat 30 Sept
Raising Our Voices is at Camden People’s Theatre on the 20th & 27th Sept 
(You can buy tickets to see both of these in one night with CPT’s 2 shows for £16 deal!)
Also recommended:
Half-Breed at Soho Theatre until Sept 30th.
Boudica at The Globe on until Oct 1st.
Turkey at The Hope Theatre 26th Sept – 14th Oct


Episode Five

Live from Edinburgh! With Tanya Loretta Dee, Charly Clive, Ellen Robertson, and Rebecca Humphries.



 More info about Episode Five…

Tanya Loretta Dee is starring in Offside by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish @ Pleasance Courtyard 15:40.

Tanya’s #FeministFave is The Color Purple, originally a book by Alice Walker, adapted into a film in 1985 starring Whoopi Goldberg, and a Broadway musical, which is touring the US later this year.

Comedy duo ‘Britney’, aka Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson, are starring in Britney in: John @ Bedlam Theatre 18:30

We talked about Britney’s previous show on Episode 2: Live from Vault Festival.

Rebecca Humphries is the writer of Prom Kween @ Underbelly Cowgate 20:35

Rebecca’s #FeministFave is Julia Davis: comedian, actress, writer, director and producer, most famously creator and star of the comedy series Nighty Night.

For more Fringe tips, our blog has a long list of Edinburgh shows we recommend seeing, and a shorter but more detailed list of our Fringe #FeministFaves.

If you’re not in Edinburgh (or are listening in the future…) never fear! The majority of the shows that do well at the Fringe will tour across the country, so make sure you get them on your radar ahead of their inevitable future success.

This episode was recorded far from home (and our usual recording equipment) so please forgive the variable sound quality.

Thanks to Funny Women, The Gilded Balloon and Apex Hotel for our locations.


Episode Four

Interview with Yolanda Mercy and Jade Lewis: writer/performer and director of ‘Quarter Life Crisis’, plus our recommendations for Underbelly Cowgate at Edinburgh Fringe, and shows opening in London and touring this summer.


 More info about Episode Four…

Yolanda Mercy is a London based Actor and Playwright. She trained at the renowned Brit school, Laban and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Yolanda is a winner of the Rich Mix Small Story Big City Award and Associate Artist at OvalHouse Theatre.

Jade Lewis is a director who has worked at Southwark Playhouse, The Bush Theatre and The Royal Court (where she assisted debbie tucker green). Jade is a Creative Associate at The Gate Theatre and Emerging Artist at Ovalhouse Theatre, and also runs workshops in schools and youth groups.

Yolanda’s #FeministFaves: The Secret book by Rhonda Byrne, and Youtuber Lilly Singh.

Jade’s #FeministFaves: Singer/songwriter Nina Simone and sprinter Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The Scar Test by Hannah Khalil – The Place Theatre, Bedford June 21st, The Bohemian Balcony Swindon June 26-27th, and Soho Theatre July 5-22nd.

Anatomy of a Suicide at the Royal Court June 3 – July 8th Alice Birch and Katie Mitchell collaborate again after last year’s production of Ophelia’s Zimmer, with a play about 3 generations of women.

Rotterdam at The Arts Theatre June 21 – July 15th

The Globe’s Summer of Love, including Emma Rice’s Twelfth Night, until August 5th

Herstory Feminist Theatre Festival at Balham N16, including Lekhani Chirwa peforming ‘Can I Touch Your Hair?’ June 18-19th

Bechdel Testing Life at The Bunker. Four short plays based on real conversations by Isley Lynn, Guleraana Mir, Rabiah Hussain and Lizzie Milton. July 22-23rd.

Underbelly Cowgate at Edinburgh Fringe recommendations…

Quarter Life Crisis 14:40

Joan (August 21-27th) 19:20

Prom Kween 20:35

Episode Three

#BringAFeministFriend special on representations of Muslim girls, with Firdos Ali and Shaneela Rowah Al-Qamar talking about An Evening to Launch Homegrown and The Diary of A Hounslow Girl.

 More info about Episode Three..

Firdos Ali is a playwright, currently writing a musical which will be previewed at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Firdos is co-curator of the Bunker Without Borders, and has 2 pieces of work being staged at the Bunker on April 4th and 8th.

Shaneela Rowah Al-Qamar is a business woman, founder of perfume company The Scented Souq and writer of several books on Arabian and Islamic history.

Firdos’ #FeministFaves: Deeya Khan of sister-hood.comEdna Adan who founded a hospital for women and children in Somaliland, and anti-FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein.

Shaneela’s #FeministFave: Journalist Mona Eltahawy.

We watched…

The Inconvenient Muslim – An Evening to Launch Homegrown at Conway Hall. Some of the publicity around the cancellation of the National Youth Theatre’s production: The GuardianTelegraphChannel 4 and BBC.

Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Ambreen Razia at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Featuring Nyla Levy, directed by Sophie Moniram.

HOT TOP –The Bernie Grant Arts Centre is dedicated to supporting culturally diverse artists, including women writers and directors, and they are actively looking for theatre folks who need rehearsal and work space in north London. If you’re an independent theatre practitioner, you can email them: with a bit about your work and the type of space you’re looking for.

We also saw a reading of Coconut by Guleraana Mir, work in progress to look out for, which we’ll be talking about more in the future.


Episode Two

Live from VAULT Festival with Bella Heesom, Lekhani Chirwa  and Georgina Bobb, discussing Dreamgirls in the West End and Balancing Acts, Fran and Leni, and Britney at VAULT.  Plus our audience, who told us their #FeministFaves. Listen to the end for some top watching, listening and reading recommendations!

 More info about in Episode Two…

All upcoming shows mentioned, and more are listed in the 2017 New Year blog post.

Bella Heesom‘s show My World Has Exploded A Little Bit. Bella an Associate Artist at Ovalhouse, where she’s making a new show about female sexuality with director Donnacadh O’Briain.

Georgina Bobb is a Freelance TV Production Coordinator and founded in 2014, offering masterclasses and coaching to people who want to work in TV. Georgina speaks publicly about living with bipolar to combat the stigma around mental health conditions and illnesses.

Lekhani Chirwa is an actor who trained at Identity Drama School. She is one of three hosts of The Creative Juice podcast. Lekhani wrote and performs in a monologue ‘Can I Touch Your Hair?‘.

#FeministFaves mentioned in Ep 2…

Bella Heesom’s #FeministFaves: Holly Morgan’s Seven Crazy Bitches, performance artist Bryony Kimmings, writer Caitlin Moran, and musician and poet Kate Tempest.

Being Black, Going Crazy BBC Three Documentary available on iPlayer.

Made of Human podcast with Sofie Hagen.

Melanin Millenials podcast hosted by Imrie Morgan and Satia Sa Dias.

50:50 Parliament campaign for at least 50% women in parliament.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, based on her 2013 TED Talk.

Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak.

Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale novel and upcoming TV series on Hulu.

Warsan Shire‘s poetry and book, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth.

Chewing Gum on Channel 4 based on the play Chewing Gum Dreams by Michaela Coel.

Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley.

2 Dope Queens podcast and Phoebe Robinson’s book You Can’t Touch My Hair.


Episode One

Bechdel Testing Panto, Emma Rice’s departure from The Globe, Interview with Jade Anouka, #BringAFeministFriend Competition, Oil at The Almieda and looking forward to 2017.

 More info about Episode One…

Jade Anouka’s poetry book Eggs On Toast, and videos.

I Call Myself A Feminist book, including ‘Hotspur: Superwoman’ by Jade Anouka.

Profile videos of each of the Donmar Trilogy’s prisoner characters.

Clean Break Theatre Company.

Brutus and Other Heroines by Harriet Walter – WIN a copy of this book by sharing your #BringAFeministFriend story for us to include in a future podcast episode! Email with a text or audio account of your experience of bringing a non-theatrical feminist to see a stage show.

Jade Anouka’s #FeministFaves: poet Laura Dockrill, Radio DJ Gemma Cairney, poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz.

Emma Rice’s departure from The Globe.

You Me And The Distance Between Us by Ellen Muriel.

Oil at The Almeida.