The Bunker Theatre
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- HOW THE VOTE WAS WON to explore the role of theatre-makers in struggles for equality then and now
- Cicely Hamilton and Christopher St John’s 1909 play How The Vote Was Won to receive a rare staged reading, performed by an all-female company
- Playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz, actor and activist Isabel Adomakoh-Young, and Fawcett Society CEO Sam Smethers to lead discussions
- All proceeds to be donated in support of women’s rights charities
A special evening of drama and discussion will be staged next month, on the eve of the Representation of the People Act’s 100th anniversary.
The Act, which followed years of campaigning work by women’s suffrage groups, granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification. Though full equality was not achieved until 1928, it was the biggest single advance in the voting rights of women – extending the franchise to 8.4 million female citizens.
Hosted at the Bunker Theatre, London Bridge, and produced by Dippermouth, the event will include a rehearsed reading of Cicely Hamilton and Christopher St John’s pioneering comedy How The Vote Was Won, performed by an all-female company (TBA shortly).
Excerpts of other suffrage plays, memoirs and speeches will also be performed alongside talks by modern-day artists and activists.
The playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz, whose suffragette drama Her Naked Skin was the first new play to be produced on the National Theatre’s main stage; actor, activist and drag king Isabel Adomakoh-Young, who campaigns for groups including 50:50 Parliament and Sisters Uncut; and Fawcett Society CEO Sam Smethers will lead discussions on the legacy of the suffrage movement, the relationship between art and activism, and the ongoing rights struggles faced by women today.
Dippermouth’s Artistic Directors Quentin Beroud and Jack Gamble said: “The victory of 1918 was the work of many amazing women – among them actors and writers whose political theatre helped to drive change. This is an opportunity to remember and to take inspiration from their work.”
Producer Maya Ellis said: “We wanted to mark this centenary by looking forward as well as back – commemorating but also challenging the legacy of the suffragette movement. We hope people will join us to discuss how we can continue the fight for the rights of all women today.”
Tickets cost £12 (£10 concessions), and are available now. All proceeds from the event will be donated in support of women’s rights charities.
Notes For Editors
How The Vote Was Won – performed on loop to meet demand at the WSPU Women’s Suffrage Exhibition – was adapted from a short story published by the Women Writers Suffrage League. The WWSL, co-founded by Cicely Hamilton, promoted writing and playwriting to advance the cause of women’s suffrage.
Cicely Hamilton (1872 – 1952) was an English actress, writer, journalist, suffragist and feminist. She wrote the lyrics to “The March of the Women”, the song which became the official anthem for the Women’s Social and Political Union.
Dippermouth makes engaged, exciting theatre and education programmes. Its last production, Richard II at the House of Commons and Arcola Theatre, was named by The Stage as one of the ‘shows that defined 2016 theatre’.
The Bunker is London’s newest Off-West End theatre housed in a former underground parking garage in London Bridge. It believes in theatre with purpose, providing ambitious artists a home in which to share their work with adventurous audiences.