The season – which will include world premieres from leading female dramatists including Bola Agbaje, Moira Buffini, Zinnie Harris, Marie Jones, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Sue Townsend as well as verbatim monologues based on interviews with politicians such as Oona King, Edwina Currie, Clare Short, Ann Widdecombe and Jacqui Smith – will run from 11 June to 17 July 2010 (previews from 4 June). It will follow fast on the heels of the General Election, which, though a date has still not been announced, must take place no later than 6 June.
Women, Power and Politics will be presented in two parts: the first, Then, examines the historical aspects of women and politics; the second, Now, takes a more contemporary focus. The two parts will be performed on alternate evenings, with an opportunity to see parts 1 and 2 on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The plays are directed by Indhu Rubasingham with associate director Amy Hodge, designed by Rosa Maggiora and produced by Rubasingham and Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent. For the verbatim pieces, political interviews were conducted and edited by Gillian Slovo.
Commenting today, Rubasingham said: “In 2010 women make up 19% of MPs. Post election, how much will have changed? It is 92 years since women were first permitted to stand for Parliament, and currently Britain has the smallest percentage of women in government of all European counties. Women are often referred to as a minority in political terms, but in fact constitute 52% of the population in this country. Women, Power and Politics will raise questions about the complexity of women and political power in Great Britain.”
Then includes: Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s The Lioness about Queen Elizabeth I; Marie Jones’ The Milliner and the Weaver about two women in Dublin’s Suffragette movement; Moira Buffini’s Battle of the Bags, centring on frosty relations between Margaret Thatcher and the Queen; and Lucy Kirkwood’s musing on Greenham Common protesters, Bloody Wimmin.
Now includes: Joy Wilkinson’s Acting Leader, about Margaret Beckett’s attempt to lead Labour after John Smith’s death; Bola Agbaje’s Student Association-centred Playing the Game; Zinnie Harris’ The Panel, questioning how appointments are decided; Sam Holcroft’s drama about a self-made millionaire businesswoman, The Pink; and Sue Townsend’s You, Me and Wii, set in council house where a canvasser wants to encourage the women to vote.
There will also be shorts plays by young playwrights Lydia Adetunji, Abbie Spallen and David Watson. Other politicians interviewed for the season include Chloe Smith and Baronesses Pauline Neville-Jones and Shirley Williams.