Jagged Fence Productions has today announced that it will present a series of free events inspired by Laurie Slade’s acclaimed new version of August Strindberg’s The Father. The adaptation, to be given its London premiere at Trafalgar Studios from 17 March, will mark the first time Strindberg’s play has been performed in a London theatre in 50 years.
Produced and chaired by theatre industry commentator Terri Paddock, the debates will take place throughout the run of The Father and will provide a forum for some of today’s most respected thinkers, prominent activists, arts practitioners and cultural leaders to engage with the play’s themes of equality, parenting and attitudes to gender roles. Key speakers will include Caroline Criado-Perez, Lucy Ann Holmes, Polly Neate, Polly Toynbee, Sally Peck, Stephanie Street and Alistair Smith.
On Monday 23 March ‘Feminism in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey’ will ask where feminism stands in light of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey and The Sun newspaper’s Page 3. Joining the panel will be: Natalie Collins (Founder, Fifty Shades is Domestic Abuse campaign); Caroline Criado-Perez (journalist, feminist campaigner and author of Do It Like a Woman); Lucy Ann Holmes (Founder, No More Page 3); Polly Neate (CEO, Women’s Aid); Tim Robey (Telegraph Film Critic) and Polly Toynbee (Guardian columnist and ex-BBC Social Affairs Editor).
On Monday 30 March ‘Parenting Rights: Does Mummy or Daddy Know Best?’ considers whether equal parenting is truly possible and how we can strive for equal rights for mothers and fathers. Joining the panel are: Matt O’Connor (Founder, Fathers 4 Justice); Sally Peck (Editor of the Telegraph’s new parenting hub, Mother Tongue) and The Father cast members Alex Ferns, Robert Wilfort and Thomas Coombes with other guests to be confirmed.
The final panel discussion on Tuesday 7 April will look at ‘Women in the Arts: What’s being done about gender equality’, with a panel made up of: Stella Duffy (theatremaker, campaigner and Creator of Fun Places); Alistair Smith (Editor, The Stage), Stephanie Street (actor, writer, Founder Member of The Act of Change project); Emily Dobbs (actor in and producer of The Father), June Watson (Actor in The Father) and Abbey Wright (Director of The Father and the forthcoming The Mentalists).
Further guest panellists are still to be announced.
Terri Paddock is a theatre commentator, event producer and content and social media strategist. Paddock co-founded and ran WhatsOnStage.com from 1997 to December 2013, building it into the UK’s leading theatre website. During that time, first as editor and later as managing and editorial director she launched the audience-voted WhatsOnStage Awards; the WhatsOnStage Outings; and the WhatsOnStage Theatre Club. Paddock has hosted launch events and awards ceremonies and chaired post-show Q&As with actors and creatives at all levels. Terri has also worked extensively as a journalist.
All three panel discussions are programmed and hosted by Paddock.
Natalie Collins (Founder, 50 Shades is Domestic Abuse) is a Gender Justice Specialist. She works to enable individuals and organisations to prevent and respond to male violence against women. She is also the creator of the DAY Programme, an innovative youth domestic abuse and exploitation education programme. Collins speaks and writes on understanding and ending gender injustice nationally and internationally.
Caroline Criado-Perez (author, broadcaster and feminist campaigner) appears regularly across the print and broadcast media. She was featured in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2013, and won the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2013. Criado-Perez also founded The Women’s Room directory of female experts for media requests. Her first book, Do It Like A Woman, will be published by Portobello Books in May 2015.
Lucy-Anne Holmes (Founder, No More Page 3) is a writer, campaigner and actor. She founded the ubiquitous No More Page 3 campaign, lobbying The Sun newspaper to end its daily publication of semi-nude glamour model photos. Holmes’s new book is called How to Start a Revolution, which encourages people to realise that now is the time to harness the internet to form movements and effect change.
Polly Neate (CEO, Women’s Aid) joined Women’s Aid, the national charity for women and children working to end domestic abuse, in February 2013. She is also a prominent commentator on violence against women, and on sexism and feminism more widely. Throughout Polly’s career, she has influenced government and campaigned for policy change and social justice. Previously working as Executive Director of External Relations and Communications at Action for Children she was responsible for the re-launch of the organisation. Polly is a trained journalist, with her last media job being as editor of Community Care, a major weekly title for professionals in children’s services and social care. Polly has also worked extensively as a journalist and been a member of advisory and working groups for government and opposition.
FATHERS FOR JUSTICE
Matt O’Connor (Founder, Fathers 4 Justice) founded Fathers 4 Justice in 2001 after he was denied access to his two sons in Britain’s Family Courts. Despite resolving the matter out of court in late 2001 and re-establishing a normal relationship with his children, O’Connor pledged to reform family law. Fathers 4 Justice staged their first direct action demonstration in 2002 when 200 Father Christmases stormed the lobby of the then Lord Chancellor’s Department. Since then, O’Connor has masterminded the creation of one of the highest-profile campaign groups in the world, spawning a host of imitation (but unrelated) groups in different countries. In 2005, Matt was GQ Magazine’s 7th Top Communicator in the UK, GQ Magazine’s 92nd Most Powerful Man in Britain, Esquire Magazine’s 35th Most Powerful Man In Britain Under 50 and one of twenty people shortlisted for the Royal Society’s Great Briton of the Year Awards. In 2007 he published his first book Fathers 4 Justice: The Inside Story and sold the motion picture rights to his life story to Buena Vista pictures, part of the Walt Disney group.
Sally Peck (Editor and writer) is lead writer of Mother Tongue, The Telegraph’s new digital parenting hub. Peck has worked as an assistant foreign editor and as an online reporter for the Telegraph. She is also a former primary school teacher and university lecturer.
WOMEN IN THE ARTS
Alistair Smith (Editor, The Stage) has written extensively for publications ranging from the Guardian to Hello! Magazine, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing theatre and the performing arts. The Stage is often referred to as the theatre industry or actors’ bible and the newspaper’s website attracts 350,000 unique visitors every month.
Stella Duffy (Writer, Director, Founder of Fun Palaces) is an Associate Artist with Improbable, Artistic Director of Shaky Isles, and a member of impro comedy company Spontaneous Combustion. She has also written thirteen novels, over fifty short stories, ten plays, and many articles and reviews. She was the founder and convenor of The Chaosbaby Project, a large-scale multi-disciplinary Open Space theatre work, created in Open Space by 60 theatremakers ranging in ages from 17 to 70. She is also the Founder and Co-Director of the Fun Palaces Campaign, a series of Fun Palaces across the UK and beyond, engendering, celebrating and enabling public engagement in the arts and sciences on a community and local basis, and commemorating Joan Littlewood’s centenary on 4/5 October 2014.
Stephanie Street (Founder Member, the Act for Change project) is an actor, writer, Literary Associate of HighTide festival, founder member of The Act for Change Project and mum. She is currently appearing in Rufus Norris’ production of David Hare’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers in the National Theatre’s Olivier. Street’s first play, Sisters, a verbatim piece about British Muslim women, re-opened the Sheffield Crucible Studio in March 2010. She is currently developing a new play about the London riots in conjunction with Alan Lane of slunglow. She has written numerous short films and radio plays. To tie in with International Women’s Day on 8 March 2015, Act for Change launches the new ‘Women of a Certain Age’ campaign.
About Jagged Fence Productions
Emily Dobbs founded Jagged Fence Productions Ltd in 2006. Jagged Fence creates fresh, fearless and innovative theatre. The company has a focused artistic policy that includes commissioning original adaptations, new writing and re-imaginings of classics. Jagged Fence has produced critically acclaimed work across London, at regional venues and in New York.
Theatre includes: Uncle Vanya (St James’, part of the One Stage season), Three Sisters, The Love Girl And The Innocent, The Seagull, The Only True History Of Lizzie Finn, Antigone, The Hostage (Southwark Playhouse); Cornelius (New York transfer to 59E59 Theater); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Gotcha, Stars In The Morning Skies (Riverside Studios); Dusa Fish Stas & Vi, Love On The Dole, Ours (Finborough); Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (Arcola). Touring productions include: Dusa Fish Stas & Vi, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It.
About Making Productions
Making Productions is one of the newest theatrical companies working in and around London today. Founded by 20-year industry veteran Darren Lee Murphy, this fresh-faced company aims to bring high quality, exciting and unique work to the West End and beyond. Having worked in a variety of performance and business arenas, in 2014 Murphy decided to combine knowledge and passion to produce, not only his own work, but to establish a company that strives to facilitate and support new and established artists in their theatrical work. Making Productions immediately went on to produce the has critically acclaimed Shutters at the Park Theatre and will be producing new works in 2015; Outlaws to In-laws, Happy Like Us (long listed for the Bruntwood Prize 2013 and winner of the And The Band Plays On at The Greenwich Theatre new writer’s competition), Madvertising and Avon Calling.
Directed by Abbey Wright, former Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse, Laurie Slade’s contemporary adaptation of Strindberg’s masterpiece will star Alex Ferns as the Captain. The adaptation originally ran in a critically acclaimed production at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 2012 and has subsequently been broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
The full cast of The Father is Alex Ferns, June Watson, Thomas Coombes, Emily Dobbs, Barnaby Sax, Millie Thew and Robert Wilfort.
The Father is produced by Jagged Fence Productions. James Turner designs, with lighting by Gary Bowman, music by Simon Slater and casting by Annie Rowe.
Jagged Fence Productions and Making Productions present THE FATHER
By August Strindberg, in a version by Laurie Slade
Trafalgar Studios 2, 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY
Until 11 April 2015
Press Night: Tuesday 17 March 2015, 7pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday, 7.45pm
Thursday & Saturday, 3.00pm