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Six female-led shows to catch this autumn

The coming months are chock-full of female-led shows

Six on stage
© Idil Sukan

To celebrate the International Day of the Girl, we've taken inspiration from an empowering musical about the wives of Henry VIII and listed six other female-led shows that you should have on your radar over the coming few months.


Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End from 2 November

What would happen if, rather than dying, Juliet had decided to go out and live her best life? That's the basic premise for the new musical &Juliet, which features the music of impresario Max Martin. We've heard some of the tunes in rehearsals and they really are the bees knees.

The cast of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)
© Mihaela Bodlovic

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

UK tour, next at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 15 October to 2 November

Based on Jane Austen's novel but with more microphones, pop tunes and karaoke, this anarchic rejigging of 19th century romance really is one to check out. It'll be visiting Northern Stage, Birmingham Rep, Edinburgh Lyceum, Leeds Playhouse and Nuffield Southampton Theatres.

Eilidh Loan in Frankenstein
© Tommy Ga-Ken Wan


UK tour, next at Theatre Royal Brighton from 14 to 19 October

Another show putting women front and centre of stories where they're usually forgotten is Rona Munro's new adaptation of Frankenstein, which has author Mary Shelley as its protagonist and is currently on a UK tour. Shelley was a pretty epic person – she started writing the novel at the age of 18, in spite of everyone around her basically dismissing her talent. Thankfully the work stood the test of time.

Six on stage
© Idil Sukan


In the West End and on tour from 24 October

Not content with ruling the West End, the smash-hit story of the six wives of Henry VIII is about to embark on a massive UK tour, opening in Guildford in October and running well into 2020. So with the news that the show has now landed a Broadway transfer, here's your chance to really see the Queens in action.

Playwright Clare Barron and performer Abiona Omonua for Dirty Crusty
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Dirty Crusty

Yard Theatre, 24 October to 30 November

Playwright Clare Barron was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize this year after storming the stage with her production of Dance Nation, which played at the Almeida Theatre, London and Playwrights Horizons, New York. Dirty Crusty – coming to the Yard Theatre this month – is bound to be another powerful production, telling the story of Jeanine, her relationship with her body, her new dance teacher Synda and a man called Victor.



Donmar Warehouse, 11 October to 30 November

Co-produced with awesome theatre company Clean Break, the Donmar's premiere of Alice Birch's brand new play [BLANK], directed by Little Shop's Maria Aberg, explores what happens when a woman is sent to prison. There are few places where you can find writing as strong as at the Donmar and Birch is a striking voice, so this is really worth a watch.

Honorable mentions

The Lovely Bones is back out on tour again, while Laura Wade's The Watsons comes to London following its brilliant premiere in Chichester.

In Leeds, Charley Miles will open the new Playhouse theatre with an all-female drama based on the Yorkshire Ripper killings called There Are No Beginnings.

Charing Cross Theatre plays host to one of the outgoing Six queens, with Millie O'Connell and Luke Bayer leading the cast of Soho Cinders.

Storming the Manchester theatre scene are Tracie Bennett and Harriet Thorpe, as they currently star in Mame at the Hope Mill Theatre.

She beat Barron to the Putlizer Prize, and now Jackie Sibblies Drury's play Fairview opens at the Young Vic with Naana Agyei-Ampadu, Donna Banya and Nicola Hughes as the Frasier family celebrating Grandma's birthday.