THREE GENERATIONS OF WOMEN (working title) by Anna Jefferson and Alice Trueman.
The best advice my mother ever gave me was, “Don’t over-pluck your eyebrows, they won’t grow back.”
Award-winning company, Broken Leg Theatre, (My Second Life; Argus Angel for Artistic Excellence), are creating a new play inspired by the experiences of real women growing up in the UK over the past hundred years.
During the last 6 months, Broken Leg Theatre have interviewed women in Leeds, Brighton and London, and over 1500 stories have been submitted to their website, described by the Independent as ‘a new digital archive chronicling the lives of British Women.’
The writers and company directors, Anna Jefferson and Alice Trueman, have distilled the contents of their research into a story which explores deep-rooted family secrets, the power of female friendships and the horrors of moving back in with your mum in your 30s. Their moving and funny new play asks: is life easier for women today than it was for their mothers and grandmothers, or do the same challenges arise, but in different guises?
Broken Leg Theatre invite you to a development reading of the play at Greenwich Theatre, offering you the chance to see the play at an early stage and, by sharing feedback, to influence the final script due for production next year. The London showcase takes place at 7.30pm, at Greenwich Theatre, on 29th September 2014. All tickets are free but places should be reserved through the Box Office on 020 8858 7755.
Three Generations of Women is funded through an Arts Council England GfA, with support-in-kind from Greenwich Theatre (London), the Marlborough Theatre (Brighton), and Leeds City Council.
The project is, in the first instance, being staged as three rehearsed readings in Brighton (The Marlborough Theatre, 18th July 2014), Leeds (Carriageworks, 5th Sept 2014, 6pm), and London (Greenwich Theatre, 29th Sept 2014, 7.30pm). All participants from the group discussions, and the general public, are invited to these readings.
The website, www.threegenerationsofwomen.co.uk, which officially launched at the end of January 2014, plays a key role in the research enabling women to submit stories remotely. Interest in the project is growing, with a feature in the Independent on Sunday, as well as promotion from NoMorePage3, Caroline Criado-Perez, Everyday Sexism Project, Southbank Centre (WoW fest), and MP Caroline Lucas.
The writers are keen to develop a piece of theatre which is drawn from real experiences that represent a wide demographic. They have been working with partner organisations in Leeds, London and Brighton who engage with women, in order to gather stories from a broad spectrum of ages and backgrounds. By capturing real voices they aim to appeal to people of all ages who have grown up in Britain.
Broken Leg have conducted focus groups with women from:
Hey Days project for over 55’s – West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
The University of Leeds
OWLS (Older Wiser Local Seniors), Leeds
St Thomas’ Hospital midwives, London
Serica Court – Sheltered and retirement housing, London
Hollingdean and Preston Park Children’s Centre, Brighton
New Writing South, Brighton
Independent groups 20-60s, London, Leeds and Brighton
The distribution of postcards also plays a role in reaching people who may not have internet access. The postcards, inviting women to pen their stories, are placed in targeted locations in Leeds, London and Brighton.
Three Generations of Women is intended to be a realistic reflection of women growing up in Britain. Its success relies on listening to the women who are engaging with the research, and using the feedback received at the three readings to further strengthen the piece. Although the play is ultimately be written by Broken Leg Theatre, those who have taken part in the process will have contributed to the overall story.
The website continues to be a growing archive of women’s experiences. Get involved and record your her-story! – www.threegenerationsofwomen.co.uk
Thursday 4th September 2014