Taking the Stage – Day 2


From £10 - £12


17 October 2024

Taking the Stage is back supporting and celebrating women playwrights. This is our third festival and like our previous two festivals, we have an exciting lineup of new plays, discussions and talks.

6pm: Group by Emma Burnell
“Group” explores the bonds that form between women of different ages, classes, races and sizes at a Slimming World group. With little in common but their geography and a desire to lose weight or to keep it off, this play explores how much we truly have in common – however different we all are. Middle-Class Bridge instructors share recipes and family gossip with Muslim matriarchs. Everyone supports each other as they go through the difficulties of their lives together – meeting every Tuesday morning and gradually forming the very strongest of bonds.

6.45pm: The Memory of Snow by Sian Rowland
Siberia 1918. Months after the revolution in Russia the deposed Tsar and his family are kept under house arrest in Siberia and no one seems to know what to do with them. The Tsar’s four daughters have spent their lives hiding their brother’s illness from the world and clung together after the Rasputin scandal. Now, as their mother’s health declines and their father grows ever more disconnected to the world, they must try and make sense of their own lives and what it means to be the daughters of a man once powerful, now weak and purposeless. All they want is to be young and have fun and maybe find love for the first time but having had to grow up quickly, they are also painfully aware of the huge changes in their own country and for the first time reflect on the lives of everyday Russian citizens in comparison with their own privileged upbringing.

The Memory of Snow is about the claustrophobia of being trapped, where your every move is scrutinised and each day could be your last.

7.30pm: Tales of the Confined by Tam Gilbert
What does it mean to be Confined? Physically? Psychologically? What has led to this confinement in terms of conscious or enforced life choices? Has incarceration come as result of barriers and restrictions imposed by Society, or a crime committed by choice – perhaps to protect family? What is justice? How has confinement changed over time for disabled people and what do they have in common with inmates?

Set during the pandemic, ‘Tales from the Confined’ tells the stories of Sarah and Lucy, at opposite ends of the social spectrum in 21st Century Britain and Sophia, a young 19th Century Dorset woman who was sent to Bristol School of Trade and Industry for the Blind, otherwise known as Bristol Asylum. Sarah is serving Time at Sunny Tree Prison in Essex and Lucy lives alone by the sea in the Southwest England. They connect through correspondence and stumble upon Sophia online. What journey do the three women have in common?

8.15pm: Echo by Subika Anwar Khan
Echo was written as a response to the West’s support and media exposure of the war on Ukraine and explores online echo chambers. The liberal hypocrisy left many activists and supporters, of the rights of people in other war torn countries like Afghanistan and Palestine, feeling betrayed and devastated by Britain’s coverage. Especially because of Britain’s historical involvement.

In an age where we are consumed by technology regularly, mental health is on the rise. Since the pandemic, as a nation we’ve spent more time with ourselves online and in isolation leading to higher rates of suicide and a variety of mental health issues.

Echo explores the consequences of regular and instant exposure to devastation thousands of miles away combined with our human condition to be seen and heard in an environment where we do not.

8.45pm: Q&A, ‘Where are we with diversity and inclusion now?’
Panel: Rosemary Hill ( Producer, Director and Playwright and Chair), Subika Anwar Khan ( Actor and Playwright), Judith Jacob (Actor and Broadcaster), Emma Burnell ( Playwright), Sian Rowland (Playwright).