(illustration by Megan-Ceri Dabbs)
Beth Watson and Pippa Sa talk gender representation on stage 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @BechdelTheatre.
…or whichever app you use to listen. Don’t forget to leave us a review!
BEATing the system with Chi Thai
Chi Thai is a Vietnamese born, British raised filmmaker. She has been a Cannes Lions finalist three times and her work has competed at Academy accredited festivals. She is part of the Guiding Lights alumnus & listed in Creative England’s Top 50 companies. She is currently in production with Automat, a new film starring Sophie Wu. Watch the trailer.
Chi is one of the founders of BEATS: a not-for-profit organisation founded by British East Asians working in Theatre and across the Screen industry seeking to humanise British East Asians, increase the visibility of British East Asians on stage and screen, and advocate for the use of the term British East Asian.
Chi’s #FeministFave is White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
The Ridiculous Darkness The Gate Theatre until Mar 23
Us Against Whatever Hull Truck Mar 27 – Apr 3
Homegrown Festival: Occupy Battersea Arts Centre Mar 19 – Apr 12
The Phlebotomist Hampstead Theatre Mar 19 – Apr 20
Pah-La The Royal Court Apr 3 – 27
Going Through The Bush Mar 28 – Apr 27
Small Island National Theatre Apr 17 – Aug 10
Waitress Adelphi Theatre until Oct 2019
Sex Sex Men Men with Thrustin’ Limbersnake
Lauren Steele is a drag king, burlesque performer and activist. She is a founding member of Pecs drag king collective, and performs as Thrustin’ Limbersnake.
Lauren’s #FeministFave is The LOL Word comedy, a collective made up of queer womxn and non-binary comics. They host regular nights at The Albany and have been performing a show at VAULT Festival with a ‘prom night’ theme.
Beth’s #FeministFave is Generation Z, especially the teenagers taking part in the School Strike for Climate.
Pippa’s #FeministFave is Jeanette Winterson’s book Written on the Body.
Be in our audience: Bechdel Theatre Podcast is recording LIVE at VAULT Festival on Sunday March 10 at 16:45.
Becoming– Stratford Circus Arts Centre March 6 – 9
I’m A Phoenix, Bitch – Battersea Arts Centre until March 9
The Paper Man – Soho Theatre until March 9
Boots – The Bunker until March 16
And The Rest Of Me Floats – The Bush until March 16
The Trick – The Bush until March 23
Inside Bitch – The Royal Court until March 23
Richard II – The Globe until April 21
Emilia – Vaudeville Theatre March 8 – June 15
A Hundred Words For Snow – Trafalgar Studios March 5 – 30
96 Festival – Clapham Omnibus until March 31
Smack That (A Conversation) – Ovalhouse until March 16 and touring to locations including Essex, London, Portsmouth, Oxford, Salford, Newcastle, and Salisbury throughout 2019.
Trailblazing Theatre Activists with Dr Naomi Paxton
Dr Naomi Paxton is a performer and feminist theatre historian who wrote her PhD on the work of the Actresses’ Franchise League. She has published two books of Suffrage plays with Methuen Drama, and is currently Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Naomi is the curator of Dramatic Progress, an exhibition at the National Theatre, which runs until January 26.
Naomi also performs at comedy, cabaret and variety nights as her character Ada Campe.
Pippa’s #feministfave was the artist Claude Cahun.
Beth’s #feministfave was the She’s All Fat podcast.
Shows to see at VAULT Festival…
Inside Voices (Jan 23 – 27)
Juniper and Jules (Jan 23 – 27)
Dangerous Lenses (Jan 23 – 27)
Lola (Jan 23 – 27)
17 (Jan 23 – 27)
Salaam (Jan 30 – Feb 3)
Fatty Fat Fat (Jan 30 – Feb 3)
Hear Me Howl (Jan 30 – Feb 3)
Succubus (Feb 1)
The LOL Word (Jan 25, Feb 15, Mar 15)
Pecs: King for a Night (Feb 2)
Elf Lyons: Love Songs To Guinea Pigs (Feb 13 -15)
Shotgun Carousel: Eat Your Heart Out (Feb 16)
Smoke Weed Eat Pussy Every Day (Feb 22-23)
i will still be whole (when you rip me in half) (Feb 27 – 28)
Woman! Pilot! Pirate? (Feb 27 – Mar 3)
Galvanise (Feb 27 – Mar 3)
Brazilian Wax XXL (Mar 2)
The Family Jewels (Mar 8)
Can I Touch Your Hair? (Mar 8 – 9)
10 (Mar 13 – 17)
Even more recommendations for 2019, including touring shows, and productions running throughout the year, can be found on our New Year Blog.
Taking Up Space with Rubyyy Jones
Rubyyy Jones is is a Canadian-born London-based burlesque dancer, cabaret performer and theatre-maker best known as the Queen of Queerlesque. You can find out more about her upcoming appearances, and how to get involved with her courses and classes on her Facebook and Instagram pages.
Rubyyy is currently performing as part of an ensemble cast of 6 in Hole at The Royal Court. Hole is written by Ellie Kendrick, and directed by (previous podcast guests) Helen and Abi from RashDash. It’s on until January 12th.
Rubyy’s #FeministFave is the Anti Diet Riot Club which hosts events and meet-ups, in London and the UK, that connect people struggling with diet-cycling, poor body image, and disordered eating. They spread the message of body acceptance, radical self-love and fatpositivity.
Beth’s #FeministFave this month is Afua Hirsch’s book Brit(ish).
Pippa’s #FeministFave is Ariana Grande.
Divine Proportions The Vaults until Jan 12
The Convert Young Vic until Jan 26
Nine Night Trafalgar Studios 1 Dec – 23 Feb
Head-Rot Holiday The Hope until Dec 22
Robin Hood The Watermill Theatre Newbury until Jan 5
Sleeping Beauty Theatre Royal Stratford East until Jan 12
Aladdin Hackney Empire until Jan 6
Rudolf MAC Birmingham Until December 31
Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon Ovalhouse until Dec 30 & Theatre Royal Plymouth Jan 22 – 26
VAGINA with Isley Lynn
Isley Lynn is an American-born, London-based playwright and poet. Her play Skin A Cat opened at VAULT Festival in 2016, where it won Pick of the Year, and was nominated for four Off West End Awards for its transfer as inaugural production at The Bunker.
Skin A Cat’s upcoming tour dates are The Other Room Cardiff Oct 8 – 13, Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough Oct 19-20, and Isley’s adaptation of The War Of The Worlds (created in collaboration with Rhum and Clay) is at New Diorama London January 8-9.
Isley’s #FeministFave is the singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco.
Kingdom Camden People’s Theatre Oct 9 – 11
Come As You Are Festival (Derby, Peterborough, Exeter, and Poole) until Dec 1
Divine Proportions The Vaults until Jan 12
Medusa Nuffield Theatre Southampton Oct 11 – 13
I’m a Phoenix Bitch Battersea Arts Centre Oct 3 – 20
Skate Hard Turn Left Battersea Arts Centre Oct 9 – 13
Britney Battersea Arts Centre Oct 16 – 17
Silence Mercury Theatre Colchester Oct 12 – 20
Burgerz Hackney Showroom Oct 23 – Nov 3
White Teeth Kiln Oct 26 – Dec 22
Blacktress season Tristan Bates Theatre Oct 4 – Dec 22
It’s True, It’s True, It’s True New Diorama Theatre Oct 16 – Nov 10.
Pickle Jar Soho Theatre Oct 23 – Nov 10
Ear For Eye Royal Court Oct 25 – Nov 24
Still No Idea Royal Court Oct 31 – Nov 17
#RepresentAsian with Katie Leung and Kae Alexander
Katie Leung began her career playing Cho Chang in the Harry Potter films, and has had screen and stage roles in Run on Channel 4, One Child on BBC, The World Of Extreme Happiness at The National Theatre, and Snow in Midsummer at The RSC.
Kae Alexander was most recently seen on stage in The Great Wave at The National Theatre. Her screen acting has included roles in Collateral, Fleabag, Game of Thrones, Bad Education and Ready Player One.
Katie and Kae are currently starring in the drama series Strangers which airs on Monday nights at 9pm on ITV.
Katie’s #FeministFave is the My Body Back Project, which runs specialist services, including a cervical screening clinics in London and Glasgow designed especially for women who have experienced sexual violence so they feel safe, relaxed, and their individual needs are met.
Kae’s #FeministFave and hero is her Mum, Kim.
Hear Me Howl Old Red Lion until Sept 29
Dance Nation Almeida until Oct 6
Queen Margaret Royal Exchange Manchester until Oct 6
Six The Arts Theatre until Oct 14
Skin A Cat is on tour until Oct 20
The Sweet Science of Bruising at Southwark Playhouse Oct 3 – 27
Twelfth Night Young Vic 2 Oct – Nov 17
Heathers Theatre Royal Haymarket until Nov 24
Everything I Am Camden People’s Theatre 2-5 Oct Natasha Simone.
Love Songs in Edinburgh with Alissa Anne Jeun Yi
Alissa Anne Jeun Yi has written and is performing in Love Songs at Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Underbelly Cowgate, 14:40, everyday until August 26th)
Alissa’s #FeministFave shows at Edinburgh Fringe:
WHITE Pleasance Courtyard 11:30
WEIRD Pleasance Courtyard 13:45
Awakening Underbelly Bristo Square 14:35
Lost In Thought Underbelly Cowgate 18:40
More shows we recommended…
Sparks Pleasance Courtyard 11:30
Sarah Keyworth Pleasance Courtyard 17:30
Evelyn Mok Pleasance Courtyard 18:00
Yana Alana Assembly Checkpoint 20:00
Fuck You Pay Me in Edinburgh with Joana Nastari
Joana’s #FeministFave shows at Edinburgh Fringe:
Illicit Thrill The Voodoo Rooms 23:35
(even) HOTTER Bedlam 21:30
Miss Venezuela Just The Tonic at The Mash House 22:10
More shows we recommended…
Baby Daddy Assembly Rooms 18:20 (until August 13)
Dangerous Giant Animals Underbelly Cowgate 12:00
Zoo Assembly George Square 11:00
Dominoes Assembly George Square 12:00
For Londoners not in Edinburgh:
Emilia at The Globe Aug 10 – Sept 1
Fun Home and Hive City Legacy
Lisa Fa’alafi and Yami ‘Rowdy’ Lofvenberg are the Director and Assistant Director of Hive City Legacy: a riotous new show by a league of extraordinary Femmes Of Colour, created in association with legendary Australian performance collective Hot Brown Honey.
Lisa’s #FeministFave was Cocoa Butter Club, a queer cabaret collective of colour, who hold regular showcases at Her Upstairs, and are performing a show at Roundhouse after Hive City Legacy on July 20th.
Yami’s #FeministFave was OSHUN, an independent Hip-Hop / Soul duo and the sonic manifestation of Afrofuturism. Their debut studio album, bittersweet vol 1, is out now.
Cherrelle Skeete is currently playing Joan in Fun Home at the Young Vic – the musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same name. Cherrelle previously played Char in Ella Road’s The Phlebotomist at Hampstead Theatre, and originated the role of Rose Granger-Weasley in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in the West End.
Cherrelle is a founder of Blacktress UK, an organisation which supports Black Womxn actors in the UK through regular meet ups, workshops and events. You can keep up with Blacktress on Instagram (Black Womxn only), Twitter and Facebook.
Cherrelle’s #FeministFaves were: Poet and activist Staceyann Chin; the writing of Audre Lorde (in particular Sister Outsider and The Cancer Journals); Sista! an anthology of writing about Same Gender Loving Black Women; and All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks.
All of our Edinburgh Festival Fringe show recommendations for August are listed on our pre-Edinburgh blog post.
Three Sisters with RashDash
RashDash Theatre Company are Abbi Greenland, Becky Wilkie and Helen Goalen. They have been making shows together since 2009, and have been called “The punk princesses of late night theatre”. Their new show Three Sisters (after Chekhov) is at The Yard London until June 9 and then at Tobacco Factor Bristol June 12 – 16
Helen’s #FeministFave was playwright and RashDash collaborator Alice Birch.
Becky’s #FeministFave was singer/songwriter Regina Spektor.
Abbi’s #FeministFave was her follow members of RashDash (see above!).
The Yellow Wallpaper Clapham Omnibus 5 – 24 June.
Leave Taking Bush Theatre until June 30.
Spun Arcola Theatre 27 June–28 July.
As You Like It & Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe until August 26.
Fun Home The Young Vic June 18 – Sept 1.
Chinese Dreams & Different Women with Jennifer Tang & Ariane Barnes
Journalism, Journeys, and Good Girl with Lisa Francesca Nand
Chisholm 72 Barbican Cinema 18 Apr.
Nine Night National Theatre 21 April to 26 May.
Mountains: Dreams of Lily Kwok UK tour until 2 June.
Our Country’s Good Touring to Leeds, London, Sheffield and Birmingham, until 2 June.
#BlackGirlMagic with Giselle Gant
MORE INFO ABOUT EPISODE Eleven…
Giselle Gant is an Emmy-winning actor, theatre-maker, and presenter (known for her ‘Black To Life‘ series on BET Her). Giselle was born and raised in Manhatten.
Nathalie Adlam is Artistic Director of theatre company Les Foules, who won the VAULT Festival Origins Award for Outstanding New Work in 2015.
Giselle and Nathalie are the creators of The Year of The Rooster Monk, running at VAULT Festival March 7 – 11.
Giselle’s #FeministFave is Shirley Chisholm, who was the United States first black congresswoman and the first woman to run for President in 1972. She also gave an honourable mention to Delta Sigma Theta a sorority founded by African American women, which is still active across the world.
So Many Reasons Ovalhouse Mar 6 – 10 Use the code BECHDEL12 to book for our special International Women’s Day celebration on March 8th for a discounted ticket and free espresso martini!
Good Girl Trafalgar Studios throughout March.
Leftover Women Cockpit Theatre 11 Mar
Yvette WOW Festival Southbank Centre 10 & 11 Mar | UK Tour 16 April to 23 May
Electra The Bunker 27 Feb – 24 Mar
The Great Wave National Theatre 10 March to 14 April
Frankenstein The Space until March 10
Juniper and Jules Theatre503 Mar 18 – 19
Dollywould Soho Theatre Mar 19 – Apr 14
Tina The Musical Aldwych Theatre from March 21st
The Party Somewhere Else Nottingham Playhouse Mar 20 – 24
Strike A Light Festival Gloucester City 21 – 27 Mar
Boots VAULT Mar 7 – 11
Timothy VAULT Mar 14 – 18
Things That Do Not Count VAULT Mar 14 – 18
Outsourcing and surrogacy in There or Here with Rakhee Thakrar
MORE INFO ABOUT EPISODE TEN…
Rakhee Thakrar is best known for her long-running role on Eastenders playing Shabnam Masood. Her theatre credits include: Astronauts Of Hartlepool (Vaults Festival); Lalita’s Big Fat Asian Wedding (Curve Leicester); Pyaar Hai (Rich Mix); Free Booze (Edinburgh Fringe).
Rakhee is currently starring in There or Here at the Park Theatre until Feb 17. Bechdel Theatre are hosting a post-show after the evening performance of There or Here on Thu Feb 1st.
Rakhee’s #FeministFaves are actress Denise Gough, and Amy Agnew and Caroline Dollman of Global Citizen: a social action platform for a global generation that wants to solve the world’s biggest challenges.
Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
Mary Beard’s book Women in Power.
MORE INFO ABOUT EPISODE NINE…
& The Andrea Project Sat 20 Jan
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’.
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.
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
Whitewashing in ‘Angel’ at the Arcola. With Tutku Barbaros.
More info about Episode Seven…
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.
Come As You Are festival with Lucy J Skilbeck, Lucy Parkinson, and Amie Taylor.
More info about Episode Six…
Live from Edinburgh! With Tanya Loretta Dee, Charly Clive, Ellen Robertson, and Rebecca Humphries.
More info about Episode Five…
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.
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.
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
#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’s #FeministFave: Journalist Mona Eltahawy.
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 Guardian, Telegraph, Channel 4 and BBC.
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: email@example.com 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.
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.
Georgina Bobb is a Freelance TV Production Coordinator and founded TVJobsUK.com 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.
#FeministFaves mentioned in Ep 2…
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.
Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman by Marjorie Shostak.
Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a text or audio account of your experience of bringing a non-theatrical feminist to see a stage show.
Emma Rice’s departure from The Globe.
You Me And The Distance Between Us by Ellen Muriel.