RSC Announces Debates and Talks Inspired by ROARING GIRLS Season; Sets MIDSUMMER MISCHIEF Festival

RSC Announces Debates and Talks Inspired by ROARING GIRLS Season; Sets MIDSUMMER MISCHIEF Festival

Details are announced for a series of debates and talks chaired by Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman, to take place in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon in response to the Royal Shakespeare Company's summer season of work.

These events are inspired by the 'Roaring Girls' season in the Swan Theatre, a series of Jacobean plays revealing some of the great parts written for and about women and the four new plays in the RSC's Midsummer Mischief festival that respond to the provocation: "Well behaved women seldom make history".

Three debates will see expert speakers and commentators discuss what it means to be a contemporary roaring girl, the role of feminism in the staging of the Roaring Girls season and the development of the feminist movement over time. The final event of the series is a talk and Q+A with RSC Associate Artist and Olivier award-winning actress Harriet Walter about roles for women in the theatre.

Roaring Girls Today
Saturday 28 June, 5pm - 6pm
Erica Whyman introduces a panel of women who have made a significant impact on British life, who will discuss good behaviour and the particular pressures on women intent on making history. Erica will be asking Caroline Criado-Perez, Stella Creasy MP and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown what the future looks like for "girls who roar".

Journalist and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez led a high-profile campaign for a woman to be featured on the £10 bank note, and found herself victimised through social media when the campaign was successful. Founder of website The Women's Room, Caroline campaigns for better representation of women in the British media.

Now a Shadow Minister in the Business, Innovation and Skills team, Stella Creasy has been the MP for Walthamstow since 2010. Her support of the banknote campaign, led to her receiving numerous threats and misogynistic messages. Commenting on her experience on BBC Radio 4's The World at One, she said 'This is not about Twitter, this is about hatred of women and hatred of women who speak up. And indeed, some of those people sending the messages have been absolutely explicit about that.'

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, known for her sharp commentary on issues of politics, race and religion, won the George Orwell Prize for political journalism in 2002 and the Emma Award for Journalism in 2004. She is a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books including Who Do We Think We Are? Imagining the New Britain, which she will draw on for the discussion.

Tickets £8

Roaring Girls On Stage
Saturday 9 August, 10.15am - 11.15am
A debate exploring the context in which the four classical plays of the 'Roaring Girls' season were written and their legacy. It will feature directors and writers from the season and Midsummer Mischief festival, with commentary by Dr Kate Aughterson. Chaired by Erica Whyman.

Jo Davies, who directs The Roaring Girl, began her career as an RSC Assistant Director and recently directed Opera North's acclaimed production of Carousel. She is currently working on Silly Kings for National Theatre Wales, which opens in Cardiff later this year.

Polly Findlay, made her RSC directorial debut with Arden of Faversham, recently directed a new play by Tim Price at the National Theatre Shed, the Olivier-award winning Derren Brown: Svengali and Antigone for the National Theatre. She also directed War Horse for the National Theatre in Berlin.

Timberlake Wertenbaker, whose new play The Ant and the Cicada features in the Midsummer Mischief festival, is one of Britain's most celebrated playwrights and is currently the Chair in Playwriting at the University of East Anglia, artistic adviser to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and on the council of the Royal Society of Literature. She has written and translated over 30 plays including Our Country's Good, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, Antigone and Our Ajax.

Dr Kate Aughterson is the Academic Programme Leader for Literature, Media and Screen at Brighton University. Her research interests focus on seventeenth century drama, notably with regard to gender and literature, sexuality and literature, and performance culture. She is the author of Renaissance Woman (1995); Aphra Behn: The Comedies (2003) and Shakespeare: The Late Plays (2013).

Tickets £8

Roaring Girls Through History
Saturday 23 August, 10.15am - 11.15am
How have things changed for roaring girls since Moll Cutpurse first hit the stage in the sixteenth century? Erica Whyman chairs a discussion looking at the changes to the feminist landscape, both over the last 500 years and in the last 50. She will be joined by Susie Orbach and Professor Catherine Belsey.

Psychotherapist, writer and social critic Susie Orbach first published Fat is a Feminist Issue in 1978. Since then she has regularly published books which examine societal influences on female body image.

Professor Catherine Belsey has an international reputation as a deft and sophisticated critical theorist and subtle and eloquent critic of literature, particularly of Renaissance texts. Formerly Chair of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory at Cardiff University, a research forum for discussion and debate on current views of the relation between human beings and culture, her most recent publication was A Future for Criticism (2011).

Tickets £8

Few Roles For Women: A Talk with Harriet Walter
Sunday 7 September, 3pm - 3.45pm
Join RSC Associate Artist Harriet Walter on her personal investigation into why there are fewer satisfying roles in theatre for women than there are for men, especially in the classical repertory and especially for older women.

On deciding she is "now beginning to feel like a repetitive grumpy old moaner", Harriet began to analyse the causes that have led to the lack of roles for women in the theatre, her inquiry led her from ancient Greece to modern Hollywood, via Shakespeare, the Restoration and the kitchen sink. Following Harriet's talk there will be a Q & A with the audience led by Erica Whyman.

As well as having worked extensively in theatre, television, film and radio, Harriet is the author of three books including Facing It: Reflections on Images of Older Women published in 2011.

Tickets £8

To book tickets call 0844 800 1110 or online at

ABOUT ERICA WHYMAN OBE: Erica is a theatre director with many years' experience, and became Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC in January 2013. Erica was Chief Executive of Northern Stage from 2005 to 2012. She oversaw the opening of a new building, introduced a collaborative organisational culture and attracted local and national acclaim for the company's repertoire of work. In 2012 she won the TMA Award for Theatre Manager of the Year. She was Associate Producer at the Tricycle Theatre and Associate Director at ETT, and then became Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse (1998-2000) and of The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill (2000-2004). One of the first fellows of the Clore Leadership Programme, Erica speaks regularly on artists in leadership roles. In 2013 she was awarded an OBE for services to Theatre in the UK.


By Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton
Directed by Jo Davies
Swan Theatre: Until 30 September 2014

By Anonymous
Directed by Polly Findlay
Swan Theatre: Until 2 October 2014

By John Webster
Directed by Maria Aberg
Swan Theatre: 30 July - 29 November 2014
Press Night: Wednesday 6 August 2014, 7pm

By Thomas Dekker, John Ford and William Rowley
Directed by Gregory Doran
Swan Theatre: 23 October - 29 November 2014
Press Night: Wednesday 29 October 2014, 7pm


Inspired by the original ethos and spirit of The Other Place under the leadership of Buzz Goodbody, and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original building in 1974, the Royal Shakespeare Company presents the first Midsummer Mischief Festival, led by Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman.

PROGRAMME A: Directed by Erica Whyman
The Ant and the Cicada by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Revolt. She said. Revolt again by Alice Birch

PROGRAMME B: Directed by Jo McInnes
I can hear you by E. V. Crowe
This is not an exit by Abi Zakarian

The Other Place at The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon: 14 June - 12 July 2014

Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London: 15 - 17 July 2014

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