Calm Down Dear 2015 Returns in September
IT'S BACK: Calm Down Dear, the UK's first and only festival of innovative feminist theatre, returns for a third time, with a line-up including porn industry refuseniks, a celebrated 15th century cross-dresser, a Bruce Springsteen loving male alter ego, a mother and baby performance duo, outspoken teenage activists and much more.
Louise Orwin returns following her 2013 Calm Down Dear hit, Pretty Ugly, with the London premiere of A Girl and A Gun (Wed 16 Sep - Sat 3 Oct, 9pm), a new work exploring the prevalence of images of girls with guns on film, challenging Jean-Luc Goddard's assertion that 'all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun'.
Racheal Ofori & Fuel Theatre's Portrait (Tue 22 - Sat 26 Sep, 7.30pm) also receives its first London run: a frank, funny and provocative look at the trials and tribulations of modern life as seen through the eyes of a young black woman. Inspired by Racheal's own experiences, Portrait uses music, poetry, humour and dance to examine identity and role models and challenge cultural stereotypes.
Performed offsite at Crossroads Women's Centre, Hula House (Dates and times tbc) from Permanently Visible is inspired by true accounts and stories obtained from interviews with sex workers and women at The English Collective of Prostitutes. The show is an immersive, interactive performance featuring dark comedy, physical theatre and audience participation.
During the festival, CPT will be exhibiting Nicola Canavan's Raising the Skirt, which documents the artist's project empowering participants to reclaim their sex organ, in a stunning series of portraits of women exposing their vaginas. Further details on accompanying events to be announced.
Several shows touch on themes of gender identity, drag and transgender. None of Us Is Yet a Robot presents Rituals for Change (Fri 18 Sep, 9pm), a trans-feminist work looking at the physical issues surrounding transitioning. In Break Yourself (Thu 1 Oct, 8pm), Ira Brand experiments with what constructing a male alter ego allows her to say and do, and Joan (Thu 8 - Sat 10 Oct, 7.30pm), by Derby Theatre and Milk Presents, features Drag Idol UK Champion 2014 Louis Cyfer in a one-woman show inspired by the story of Joan of Arc.
The Festival concludes with Tomorrow's Feminists Today (Sun 11 Oct, from 3pm), an afternoon of new feminist theatre by and using teenaged voices. Happy Girl by Crowded Nest (St Marylebone CE School, London) explores the ways in which teenage girls behave towards one another, and what this means for their relationships as women. Boys Will Be Boys by Kidbrooke Theatre (Corelli College) takes inspiration from the Everyday Sexism Project to confront the sexism teenage girls face as they go about their business in school, at home and in the street. And Broken Windows by Più Theatre sets verbatim interviews with teenagers from across the UK to song.
"Brilliant people doing brilliant things. Space to talk about feminism. A world to be proud of living in"
- Guardian writer Maddy Costa on Calm Down Dear 2014
The Calm Down, Dear festival was launched in 2013, and in its first two editions has featured trailblazing new work by Bridget Christie, Fuel Theatre, Adrienne Truscott, Sh!t Theatre, Hannah Silva, Live Art Development Agency, Rachel Mars and many more.
Press Contact & To Book Tickets: Amber at CPT 020 7419 4841 | firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: The press night on Thursday 17 September will feature Louise Orwin's 'A Girl and A Gun' and Racheal Ofori & Fuel Theatre's 'Portrait'.
Louise Orwin Wed 16- Fri 18, Wed 30 Sep, Fri 2 & Sat 3 Oct, 7.30pm; Thu 24 - Sat 26 Sep, 9pm
A Girl and A Gun
"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun" - Jean-Luc Goddard
This is a show about girls and guns. It's a show that asks two people to take to the stage and play out a film script in front of you. It wonders what the difference might be in watching something on screen and experiencing something live. It is a show that asks what it means to be a 'hero', what it means to be a plot device, and what it means to watch.
Siobhan McMillan Wed 16 Sep, 9pm
Transporting traditional fairytale into another dimension, Mirrors provides a unique insight into the lonely, frustrating, and sometimes ridiculous plight of the modern woman. By means of story-telling, comedy and multi-role playing, this new solo show challenges, satirises and reappraise the fairytale heroine seeking validation through her knight-in-shining-armour. The action follows the adventures of a 'witch of sorts' - a distant relation of Snow White's stepmother - who, on discovering through her mirror that her beauty might have lost its edge, sets out on a journey to destroy her rival in beauty.
None of Us is Yet A Robot Fri 18 Sep, 9pm
Rituals for Change
Rituals for Change is a new performance from None of Us is Yet a Robot - a company exploring gender identity & the politics of transition through a series of live & online events. Using projection, conversation and visual art, it is a series of rituals created to explore a gender transition and the fluid notion of change. This production is in collaboration with Eilidh MacAskill and Myriddin Wannell. Supported by Pink Fringe and the Hall For Cornwall Creation Space.
THE BIG BANG #1, #2, #3 Sat 19, 7.30pm, Sun 20 Sep, 7pm, Sat 10 Oct, 8.30pm
Welcome to THE BIG BANG: an explosion of performance from which new universes of theatre may one day emerge... These jam-packed scratch platforms have been among the highlights of previous festivals: the place to see wild & wonderful new projects take their first steps, alongside short, sharp performances that deliver their fix of feminism in one intense hit.
Racheal Ofori & Fuel Theatre Tue 22 - Fri 25, 7.30pm, Sat 26 Sep, 6pm
A frank, fun and provocative look at the trials and tribulations of modern life as seen through the eyes of a young black woman. Inspired by Racheal's own experiences, Portrait uses music, poetry, humour and dance to challenge cultural stereotypes, examine identity and role models and ask the critical question: how do you navigate today's world?
Crossline Theatre Tue 22 Sep, 9pm
Porn is a massive industry with seemingly no borders or limitations. If someone thought they could have sex on it, in it, or with it, there is porn about it. Porn gives us patterns of what sex "should be" or what should be "sexy". But is anyone really being satisfied? Cream Pie explores porn at its tackiest: a pizza man, a girl's night in, and a bit of 'slipping into something less comfortable'. With elements of absurd physicality, object theatre, and verbatim content, Cream Pie parodies a few of the classic genres: heterosexual porn, 'girl on girl', BDSM, and unique fetishes. As the show goes on, the biggest question is: will the ladies actually get a chance to climax? Or are they going to be faking their way through the whole thing?
Southern Wild Sat 26 Sep 7.30pm & Sun 27 Sep 7pm
The Oil and The Shard
A fictional tale inspired by the women who scaled the Shard in 2013, The Oil and the Shard delves into stratified lives to ask how far you'll climb for your beliefs and what drives you to protest. Winding its way through protest camps, prisons and press conferences the show looks at what happens when you are shoved unapologetically into the limelight and are forced to justify your opinions.
A Devoted and Disgruntled satellite Open Space, hosted by GAP Salon Sat 26 Sep, 1-4.30pm
Gender and Performance
A free Open Space event to work on issues around Gender in Performance.
Open Space Technology (OST) is a form developed to support groups to self-organise and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It gives all participants the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations, flit between them all or head to the bar. Improbable has been opening space for the theatre and performing arts communities for the last ten years, under the banner of Devoted & Disgruntled. To find out more, see www.devotedanddisgruntled.com.
FREE, booking required
Mouths of Lions Tue 29 Sep, 7.30pm
Chloe, Georgia, Louise and Rimi have been reading fantasy novels. And watching fantasy films. And getting into Dungeons and Dragons. When they have a spare minute, they take a break and listen to The Beach Boys. Featuring death-defying battle scenes and excellent dancing, SUPERFUNADVENTURETIMES (returning after a sell-out performance in Sprint 2015) is a new show about friendship and fantasy. Mouths of Lions explore the personal journeys of four real-life, real-time friends alongside the epic tale of four unlikely sisters-in-arms as they try to defend the land of Forswornia from utmost evil and peril. Join the adventure!
Kansaze Dance Theatre Tue 29 & Wed 30 Sep, 9pm
2:1 is a physical theatre production responding to the lack of representation of women in positions of power socially and economically. The production fuses contemporary movement with text, using real stories from the cast and creatives and other professional working within the Arts Industry. 2:1 depicts the journey of the two main characters Alexander and Alexandra (Alex and Alex) as they leave university and grapple with an increasingly difficult graduate jobs market.
Victoria Bianchi Thu 1 Oct, 7pm
Babyweight uses autobiography to explore the challenges motherhood poses for all women. It is a duet between Victoria and her one-year-old daughter, Iona. She needs to do it this way because she likes to be around Iona as much as possible. And because she hasn't figured out childcare arrangements. She still isn't sure how this will work, but she's going to give it a go.
Babyweight is an exploration of the transition to motherhood, a journey that often silences women in the arts. The work shares stories from Victoria's pregnancy, the birth of her daughter, and her life as a new mother. Motherhood is revered as a blissful and loving time, and many women are fearful to admit the struggles and anxieties that come with it. Victoria hopes to start a conversation between mothers, fathers, those who aren't yet and those who never want to be.
Ira Brand Thu 1 Oct, 8pm
Break Yourself (Work-in-Progress)
Ira is a performer. Usually she is standing on stage, trying to be honest, truthful, likeable. Trying to 'be herself' - for you. Ollie is a graphic designer. He likes Bruce Springsteen. And tonight he is attempting to evoke Bruce, to claim for himself Bruce's particular brand of cool, 'working class' masculinity - for you.
Break Yourself is a new piece in development about the performance of identity. It is about a process of channeling somebody else's power through pretence and appropriation. It is about the relationship between power and desire, the complex landscape of male and female sexual desire, and the desire to be something 'other'. And it is about gender - about what constructing a male identity allows Ira to say and do, and about what it means to her to construct a male identity in order to say and do these things.
Artful Badger's Company of Animals Thu 1 Oct, 9pm
Five women clad in red take to the stage. Using movement, sound and text, they illuminate the dichotomy of life's balance between the Apollonian and Dionysian struggles and joys. Weaving the unconscious with the conscious, the five very different characters give you a brief window into their lives. Together they ignite the collective power we have - far more than the sum of our parts.
Hannah Ballou Fri 2 Oct, 9pm
hoo:ha is comic performance art that cleverly pits funniness against sexiness in a knock-down, drag-out fight for control of the female body. Warning! May include the following: nudity, pedantry, ironic pelvic movement, live animals, participatory games, a tiny banjo, and inadvisable pathos. hoo:ha is brought to you by the 'girl and her dog' team behind the internationally-acclaimed Marina Abramopug project.
Nicola Canavan in collaboration with Dawn Felicia Sat 3 Oct, times tbc
Raising the Skirt
A celebration of women and reclaiming the cunt as a powerful tool in assertion. We will be presenting a one-off event as part of Calm Down, Dear, alongside an exhibition of photographs from the project.
Rebecca Biscuit and Johanne Hauge Sat 3 Oct, 9pm
Oh Baby / An Unauthorised Autobiography
Two brand new feminist themed works-in-progress from inspiring solo artists. Oh Baby is a love letter to contraception with a soul soundtrack about how Rebecca Biscuit is definitely not ever having children ever. An Unauthorised Autobiography is a piece from recent Queen Mary's MA graduate Johanne Hauge about lying through your teeth, makeup tutorials, fairytales, tall tales, old ladies with their noses stuck in tree stump.
CRANK Theatre Tue 6 & Wed 7 Oct, 7.30pm
Filmland! is the amazing untrue story of Harriet Hartley, the forgotten genius of early British cinema, and the man she invented, Fred Butterworth. It's a radical alternative history of film, told in the styles of the period: part silent film, part music hall and all before your very eyes.
In 1888 Harriet Hartley appeared in the first moving picture ever made, the Roundhay Garden Scene filmed by Louis le Prince. In 1890 le Prince vanished in France, possibly murdered by Thomas Edison, with whom he was fighting a bitter patent battle to be crowned the creator of cinema. That much is certain. As for the rest ... well, that's for you to decide.
Filmland! is about what we lose when men and money steal an art form: about unheard voices, blurred identities and the suppression of ideas. It's an alternative history of cinema, and a call to arms for an alternative future, giving us each the chance to imagine the unique, bold and radical movie that plays inside our own mind.
Queen's Others Tue 6 Oct, 9pm
Are You Ready for Your Close Up?
Are you ready for your close up? is an installation that performs the constant objectification of women in the film industry. It's a half-hour performance split into two halves - in the first half, a man is directing actresses and in the second, a woman is directing actresses.
Katy Dye Wed 7 Oct, 9pm
Baby Face (Work-in-Progress)
I have been noticing knee socks, bunches, the smoothness of lips, the brightness of eyes, the blushing of cheeks, the lightness of laughter, the vulnerable tremor in a voice. I have been noticing gingham cotton print dresses, Miley Cyrus's doll-like demeanor, and models blowing bubble-gum with the nonchalant expression of a six-year-old. I have been noticing myself and how I change when I want to be attractive.
What makes me act smaller than I am? What makes me feel like removing my body hair would be a good idea? What makes me want to change? Baby Face explores stereotypical images of female infantilisation to unpick and understand their complex effects.
Eilidh MacAskill Thu 8 & Fri 9 Oct, 9pm
A new solo performance about penis envy, masculinity, horses and DIY.
Tell me about it, Stud...
Well, Dr Freud tells me I'm missing something and I think he's right. He tells me that until I get over it and turn my desire for that missing thing into a desire for a baby, I'm gonna be in deep shit. He also tells me he doesn't really get chicks...
Derby Theatre in association with Milk Presents Thu 8 & Fri 9 Oct 7.30pm, Sat 10 Oct 7pm
1420s France - ravaged by war, under occupation from the English, a population divided. 18-year-old Joan is a farmer's daughter, a freedom fighter, and just maybe the original drag king... Dressed as a boy, Joan defies convention and leads her country to freedom. But at what cost?
Six hundred years on, in a world where women dragging up as men is distinctly underground, Joan is still ahead of her time. Part new writing, part drag cabaret, UK drag idol champion LoUis CYpher performs this one-woman show about what it means to stand alone.
Performed by Lucy Jane Parkinson, AKA Drag Idol UK Champion 2014 LoUis Cyfer
Crowded Nest Sun 11 Oct, 3pm
Happy Girl (Part of Tomorrow's Feminists Today)
The company behind last year's "dynamic and raw" performance of Teenage Dirtbag is back and using girls' own words to talk about how we are conditioned as teens, and what this means for our relationships as women. Girls know all about the sexism we'll face as women. But what about how we treat each other now? What about the way we spend our teenage years cutting each other down, so that by the time we really need to be allies, we don't trust each other anymore? And who's telling us to act this way?
Crowded Nest is a company of A-Level Drama students from the St Marylebone CE School in London lead by writer/director Tracy Mathewson.
Kidbrooke Theatre Company Sun 11 Oct, 4.30pm
Boys Will Be Boys (Part of Tomorrow's Feminists Today)
Inspired by the Everyday Sexism Project, 'Boys will be Boys' is a no holds barred exploration of what it means to be a teenage girl in 2015. Created by five exceptional young women, the piece confronts the sexism that they encounter as they go about their business in school, at home and in the street. The performers are all students from Corelli College in South East London. They are quick-witted, bitterly insightful and massively talented. Their sharp observations will wake you up to the realisation that we have not come as far as we may have hoped. Whilst girls continue to be reminded that 'well, boys will be boys' - there is still work to do.
Kidbrooke Theatre Company is considered to be the most outstanding school-based company in the UK. Their productions have been performed at Greenwich Theatre, Riverside Studios and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Piu Theatre Sun 11 Oct, 6pm
Broken Windows (Part of Tomorrow's Feminists Today)
Exploring the unsung fears of the young. Here come the girls: sisters, head girls, lonely hearts and future rockstars. Some of them have their paths planned for life, others don't know what they're doing at the weekend. All of them are free for a chat if you'd care to listen in...
Based on verbatim interviews with teenagers from across the UK and set to song, Broken Windows is an exploration into what it means to be young and female today. It is the result of a year-lond period of research, and is based on verbatim interviews with five female teenagers ages 15-19. Featuring music composed by TED and BBC award-winning musician Matthew White, the play explores the concerns, aspirations and anxieties of Generation Y, discussing what it means to be young and female today.
Permanently Visible Dates & Times TBC
Inspired by true accounts and stories from interviews obtained with sex workers and women at The English Collective of Prostitutes, Hula House is an immersive, interactive performance featuring, dark comedy, physical theatre and audience participation, creating the world of a brothel at a site-specific venue.
By meeting the 'real' women behind the stereotypes, Hula House questions why we don't do more to help those in the sex trade. Our unique performance will challenge societal ideas of sex workers, inviting audiences to look more closely at a subject often considered taboo.