Miro is the media partner for the King's Head Theatre's latest festival, featuring all-female playwrights. Who Runs The World? champions women's theatrical voices this spring.

It was one of my top picks for these spring months – next week sees the opening of the Who Runs The World? festival at the King’s Head Theatre. It’s a mini-season of sorts, one that entirely champions the female playwright to prove, amongst other things, that there are numerous women writing pieces of poignant and purposeful theatre. The format feels very similar to the way in which Camden People’s Theatre have long been known for programming their work – one headliner who runs throughout the season, with newer pieces by emerging writers who wish to try out ideas, test the waters and develop their craft.

Louisa Davis, Senior Producer, King’s Head Theatre

King’s Head Theatre have been running work in this fashion for while, doubling up shows in a single evening in order to maximise the use of the space. So it’s exciting to see Senior Producer Louisa Davis structuring these next couple of months to shine a light on that which many theatres are having trouble doing, even to this day – achieving a gender balance of work by both male and female playwrights:

“Conversations about gender equality are nothing new, but as a female theatremaker it was becoming more and more frustrating seeing so much stage time being given to male voices – or to go one step further, to see my gender or issues affecting my gender only being told by a male voice.” comment Davis. “Why is it that female voices are struggling to be heard? Why is it that the people who can influence these decisions don’t actively open doors and be part of a positive change? There seems to be an assumption, from some high profile statements made on the issue, that ‘there aren’t enough good female writers’ or that ‘they won’t make enough money at the box office’ – when did this become gospel? Why don’t we challenge these assumptions?”

Theatre tells the stories of our society, but from a gender perspective it has been one-sided for too long.

It’s sad that a venue such as the King’s Head Theatre, known for shining a spotlight on the unknown, is having to turn their attention to females in the industry as if they are a surprising, new subject. Women are by no means a minority – they make up 51% of the UK population and hold a comfortably controlling margin of theatregoing audiences. So, for those that think there are insufficient women coming up through the ranks to contribute to the theatrical conversation, take a look below:


Tumble Tuck

Who Runs The World King's Head Theatre

Tumble Tuck by Sarah Milton

After its success at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, the headline show to the Who Runs The World? festival is Tumble Tuck. Written by and starring Sarah Milton, it focusses on our sense of self-worth in a forum that prioritises being the best above trying your best. A bronze medal can be as valuable to an individual as a gold medal – a celebration of hard work, dedication and effort. So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to succeed, to conform or to aestheticise?

“The pressure on young people, and particularly women, to look a certain way, achieve life goals and fit in with social expectations is enormous.” comments Milton. “Tumble Tuck explores the journey of a young woman going through exactly these pressures and is inspired by my own experiences of managing my mental health through swimming. Tumble Tuck is a play I wish I’d seen as a young adult and I’m ecstatic that the show has been chosen to transfer to the King’s Head Theatre, to headline its all-female festival.”

Tumble Tuck headlines the Who Runs The World? festival at the King’s Head Theatre from 24 April – 12 May 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.

 


Everything I Am

Who Runs The World King's Head Theatre

Natasha Brown’s Everything I Am

Next up is a one-night only show of Natasha Brown‘s Everything I Am. A one-woman band, Brown wrote, directed and stars in this intersection between identity, celebrity worship and belonging. Everything I Am is a rally against holding your tongue, something that women have been traditionally encouraged to do as part of the outdated 1950s Stepford housewife image. But no more for Tash – she’s a black, queer woman taking cues from her celebrity idol Kanye West – a rapper renowned for speaking his mind.

Everything I Am runs as part of the Who Runs The World? festival at the King’s Head Theatre on 30 April 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.


Babybox

Who Runs The World King's Head Theatre

Babybox by Laura McGrady

From mental health to women’s health, Sleepless Theatre Company bring the world premiere of their latest production, Babybox to the Who Runs The World? festival. The company are no strangers to the King’s Head Theatre – Artistic Director Helena Jackson is a Junior Associate with the venue. Written by Laura McGradyBabybox examines a sibling relationship that can either galvanise or become estranged when illness is involved. Pleasure and pain often go hand in hand when discussing the female sexual experience, so how can a young woman know if these sensations are normal, or if they are symptoms of a medical condition? McGrady’s work focusses on endometriosis, which affects 10% of the female population and yet can go years undiagnosed because it often presents itself in a similar fashion to period pain, or pain during sex.

Babybox runs as part of the Who Runs The World? festival at the King’s Head Theatre from 1 – 6 May 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.


Voices From The Deep

Who Runs The World King's Head Theatre

Voices From The Deep night of shorts

It has its headline show, it has accompanying premiere productions. Next up in the Who Runs The World? festival is a night of new writing shorts. Labelled Voices From The Deep, the theme around this evening is Shakespearean verse. Arranged by all-female collective Paperclip Theatre, writers such as Verity Fine Hosken, Rachel Archer, Samia Djilli and Jenny Richards will present pieces styled as a nod to The Bard, but discussing such timeless issues as hostility, violence and sexual intrigue.

Voices From The Deep runs as part of the Who Runs The World? festival at the King’s Head Theatre on 7 May 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.


NoF*cksGiven

Who Runs The World King's Head Theatre

NoF*cksGiven by Daisy King

Last, but certainly not least, in the Who Runs The World? season is NoF*cksGiven by Daisy King. Produced in collaboration with Bruised Sky Productions, the show shifts focus again, this time over to female independence and the stigma attached with being liberated in all senses of the word. Men who go out and sleep around are traditionally hailed as sexual conquerors, yet women who feel the freedom to go and enjoy their sexuality with multiple partners are shamed as sluts. King’s production throws this back in our faces while examining the underlying motivation for such fierce independence – drenched in a desire to belong, tarnished by the desperation to be liked.

Bruised Sky Productions are fast becoming regulars at the King’s Head Theatre. Their latest production, Victim, is about to finish its three-week run at the venue and follows on in the narrative from previous acclaimed work Villain.

NoF*cksGiven runs as part of the Who Runs The World? festival at the King’s Head Theatre from 8 – 12 May 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.