Eight short plays, commissioned and developed as part of the Women Centre Stage Festival, that together demonstrate the range, depth and richness of women’s writing for the stage.
Selected by Sue Parrish, Artistic Director of Sphinx Theatre, these plays offer a wide variety of rewarding roles for women, and are perfect for schools, youth groups and theatre companies to perform.
How to Not Sink by Georgia Christou looks at duty, love and dependency across three generations of women.
In Wilderness by April De Angelis, a patient and her psychiatrist head into the wilderness to find out how sane any of us really are.
In Chloe Todd Fordham’s The Nightclub, three very different women at a gay nightclub in Orlando are caught up in a terrifying hate crime.
Fucking Feminists by Rose Lewenstein is a fiercely funny investigation of what feminism means, and what it has become.
Winsome Pinnock’s Tituba is a one-woman show about Tituba Indian, the enslaved woman who played a central role in the seventeenth-century Salem Witch Trials.
In The Road to Huntsville by Stephanie Ridings, a writer researching women who fall in love with men on death row finds herself crossing the line.
White Lead by Jessica Siân explores the expectations and responsibilities of being an artist and a woman.
In What is the Custom of Your Grief? by Timberlake Wertenbaker, an English schoolgirl whose brother has been killed on active duty in Afghanistan is befriended online by an Afghan girl.
Sphinx Theatre has been at the vanguard of promoting, advocating and inspiring women in the arts through productions, conferences and research for more than forty years.
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About the Author
Georgia Christou took part in Young Writers’ Programmes at the Royal Court Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith. Her debut play Yous Two was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award and was produced at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs in 2018. Other theatre includes: How To Spot An Alien (Paines Plough/Theatre Clwyd) and Rocket Girl (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama/Minack Theatre). She has also written short plays for DryWrite, Bush and Sphinx Theatre. TV includes: Through the Gates (Channel Four/Blacklight TV). She has original ideas for television in development with HillBilly films and Various Artists Ltd.
April De Angelis is an acclaimed writer whose extensive theatre work includes My Brilliant Friend, a two-part dramatisation of Elena Ferrante’s epic family saga (Rose Theatre Kingston); After Electra (Theatre Royal Plymouth and Tricycle Theatre 2015); Rune (New Vic Theatre Stoke 2015); Gastronauts (Royal Court Upstairs, 2013); Jumpy (Royal Court 2011 and Duke of York’s Theatre 2012, Melbourne and Sydney 2015); an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep, 2008); A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint at National Theatre, 2001); A Warwickshire Testimony (RSC, 1999); The Positive Hour (Out of Joint at Hampstead Theatre, 1997); Playhouse Creatures (Old Vic Theatre, 1993; revived at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2013); and The Life and Times of Fanny Hill (The Old Fire Station Oxford, 1991; revived at the Bristol Old Vic, 2015). Her new adaptation of Frankenstein opened at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in Spring 2018. Current work includes commissions for the Royal & Derngate Northampton and BBC Radio 4.
Chloe Todd Fordham is an award-winning playwright from London. Her play Sound of Silence won a Bruntwood Prize Judges Award in 2015. Her play The Next Generation was shortlisted for the 2017 Writers in Theatre Award, run by Out of Joint. Her first play Land’s End was developed while studying at Goldsmiths University and through the the Arcola’s inaugural PlayWROUGHT festival, and was later shortlisted for Theatre503’s Playwriting Award in 2014. Short plays include: The Nightclub (originally commissioned by MamaQuilla as part of Acts of Defiance at Theatre503, later developed for Sphinx’s Women Centre Stage Festival at Hampstead Theatre), Play 9 (for PLAY Theatre Company, Vault Festival), Chicken and Chips, part of EleXion (Theatre503). Chloe is a graduate of the 503Five, Theatre503’s writer residency scheme and has attended the Kenyon College Playwrights Conference in Ohio (supported by Bruntwood and the Royal Exchange). She has an MA in Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths University. Chloe currently also works as the Literary Manager at Graeae Theatre Company.
Rose Lewenstein’s plays include: Darknet (Southwark Playhouse); Psychoslut (Women@RADA); Now This Is Not The End (Arcola); Game of Life (The Yard); Only Human (Theatre503) and Ain’t No Law Against Fish ’n’ Chips (Royal Court Young Writers Festival). She is currently under commission to the Royal Court and is developing original TV dramas with Kudos, Hillbilly, SunnyMarch and BlackLight/Channel 4.
Winsome Pinnock is a playwright and academic who was born in London to parents who were both migrants from Jamaica. Her theatre credits include: The Principles of Cartography (Bush Theatre); Tituba (Hampstead Theatre); Cleaning Up, Taken (Clean Break at Ovalhouse Theatre); IDP, One Under, Water (Tricycle Theatre); The Stowaway (Plymouth Theatre); Beg Borrow or Steal (Kuumba Community Arts Centre); Mules, Water, A Hero’s Welcome, A Rock in Water (Royal Court); Can you Keep a Secret? (NT Connections); Leave Taking (Liverpool Playhouse Theatre; revived at Bush Theatre in 2018); The Wind of Change (Half Moon Theatre); Picture Palace (Women’s Theatre Group). Radio plays include: Clean Trade (Radio 4); Lazarus (BBC Radio 3); Her Father’s Daughter (BBC Radio 4); Let Them Call it Jazz (adapted from Jean Rhys’ short story, BBC Radio 4); Indiana (adapted from novel by George Sand); The Dinner Party (BBC Radio 4); Something Borrowed (BBC Radio 4) and Water (BBC Radio 4). She co-wrote the screenplay Bitter Harvest. Awards include: the George Devine Award, Pearson Plays on Stage Scheme Best Play of the Year Award, Unity Trust Theatre Award. She was also runner-up for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She was Senior Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University and Writer in Residence at Holloway Prison, Clean Break Theatre Company, Royal Court Theatre, Kuumba Arts Community Centre, Tricycle Theatre, and the National Theatre Studio. She is currently Associate Professor at Kingston University.
Stephanie Ridings is a writer and performer based in the West Midlands. The Road to Huntsville received a Bitesize commission in 2015; after opening at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 and winning an Arts Voice award, the work toured throughout 2017. Her recent and most notable work has been Unknown Male, Birmingham REP, which was the winner of the Peter Brook/Mark Marvin award. Her first major script, Me, Mum & Dusty Springfield, enjoyed a sell-out Edinburgh Festival and went on to be supported by The Lowry (Salford) and tour nationally. She has been Artist in Residence at Contact Theatre (Manchester) and has been commissioned to write for a range of companies including Women and Theatre, Birmingham REP’s Learning and Participation, Corby Young Actors at the Core at Corby and a radio play for Cotesbach Trust, Leicestershire.
Jessica Siân is an actor and playwright, her debut play Klippies was nominated for an OFFIE for Most Promising New Playwright. She was commissioned by Southwark Playhouse to adapt Kiki’s Delivery Service, which was remounted in summer 2017 after a sell-out Christmas run. She is a Royal Court Young Writers alumnus and her work has been supported by the National Theatre Studio and the Almeida. She has been commissioned by Southwark Playhouse, the Bush Theatre and Sphinx Theatre for their Hampstead Theatre Take Over.
Timberlake Wertenbaker grew up in the Basque country and lives in London. She is one of the UK’s leading playwrights and her work is performed worldwide. She is the recipient of numerous awards including an Olivier Award and the New York Drama Critics’ Award for Our Country’s Good and a Writers’ Guild Award for Three Birds Alighting On A Field. Jefferson’s Garden won the 2016 Writers’ Guild Award for Best Play and opened in Washington in January 2018. Other plays include: Winter Hill, My Father, Odysseus, Magna Carta Plays, We Sell Right, Walking The Tightrope, The Ant and the Cicada, The Love of the Nightingale, Our Ajax, The Line, Galileo’s Daughter, Credible Witness, The Break of the Day, The Grace of Mary Traverse, Abel’s Sister, Ash Girl and After Darwin. Translations include: Britannicus, Antigone, Elektra, Hecuba, Wild Orchids, Jenufa, The Thebans and Mephisto. Timberlake is currently working on a new commission for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Sue Parrish is Artistic Director of Sphinx Theatre Company. Founded as The Women’s Theatre Group in 1973 Sphinx Theatre Company, renamed in 1990 has been in the vanguard of promoting, advocating and inspiring women in the arts through productions, conferences and research for more than 40 years. Previous work includes the premiere of April de Angelis' modern classic Playhouse Creatures, Pam Gems' The Snow Palace and Bryony Lavery's Goliath, plus the Vamps Vixens and Feminists and Glass Ceiling conferences with the National Theatre, Young Vic, Southbank Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse and the recent Women Centre Stage Festival that took place at the National Theatre.