Die Hexenhammer is a treatise on witchcraft written and published in 1486 by Catholic clergymen Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. The key argument of the book is the following: Chaos is female and women corrupt men, therefore women must be destroyed. Using this historical event as the backbone of the play, Suzy Kohane (as Heinrich) and Sidsel Rostrup (as Jacob, Heinrich’s faithful companion) mix comedy and verbatim theatre (taken from incel forums) to create a hilarious, yet extremely poignant play that explores the roots of misogyny.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the theatre industry interrogated rehearsal room dynamics and called for them to become ‘safe spaces’ where people are free from abuse. Whether or not productive change has actually occurred is up for debate, but this show proclaims that the concept of a safe rehearsal is highly subjective – what is safe for one person may not be for another. In this energetic and highly sensorial piece, actor/writer Rhys Hastings considers how growing up in an abusive home impacts all aspects of his life, including his acting work.
Leigh’s doing her GCSEs but all she and the girls at school can talk about is the upcoming May Day event, where Leigh’s playing the May queen. She can’t wait to wear the dress she was allowed to choose herself, and wave from the float whilst the entire city of Coventry comes out to watch. What she doesn’t realise is that at 16 years old, Leigh’s had enough of boys and men consuming her body.
In 2002, Suzan-Lori Parks set herself the task of writing a play a day for 365 days. Parks
would eventually release the performing rights for $1 per play, sparking a continent-wide theatre festival that took Parks’ work, and theatre, to a host of new audiences and venues. Theatre Uncut follow a similar ethos.
Over the second half of the 1970s, a serial killer murdered at least 13 women in the North of England. He attacked many others. Determined to stop him, the West Yorkshire police assign a small team of staff to the case, using a paper system to pursue and track numerous leads. Hardened force veteran George Oldfield helms the investigation, and he is determined that they leave no stone unturned. Shut away in a dedicated room at Millgarth Police Station in Leeds, they comb through evidence, argue over approaches and race to catch the Yorkshire Ripper before another woman’s body is found. Yet, they have another enemy – the systemic misogyny and pride that cause chasmic blindspots in their investigation.
Much like Bicycles and Fish, the first show Katie Arnstein performed at the festival, Sexy Lamp is a perfect mix of wit, emotion and more serious points, that reflect both her own experiences and the experiences of the majority of women with misogyny, perfectly. In this show, the second of her trilogy It’s A Girl!, she moves on to her first experiences trying to make it in London in the world of acting, once again discussing her struggles against misogyny.
Katie Arnstein’s show Sexy Lamp tears down the acting industry, its gendered prejudices, its inclination to dispose of women and to objectify them, all in the space of an hour. She is eloquent, gentle, and the show packs a long-lasting impact.
“Fame!” – we all know the infamous song. The lyrics, “I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly, HIGH” are not well known just because of the original 1980 film, but because of the subsequent television series, film remake and musicals that followed. The title song is a good one by all accounts, however this revival of the 1988 musical serves up little else that’s at its level.
Richard is an art dealer living a Bohemian life in the early 1980s – his London bedsit is cluttered with quirky finds from Portobello Market, he fills his time with music, wine and women. When years of not taking care of himself eventually take their toll on his body, writer Phil Young wants us to feel sorry for Richard but his misogynistic and abusive behaviour in this 1982 play makes this difficult to achieve.
In this powerful revival of Caryl Phillip’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning play, themes of inter-generational conflict, racism, machismo and cultural disconnection collide in a way that feels disturbingly current.