Maiden Speech is a dynamic and exciting theatre festival staging brand new work by emerging theatremakers. Now in its second year, Maiden Speech returns with 15 new shows, championing new work that engages with themes of gender, sexuality, and identity through a myriad of stories and styles. The 2018 season will bring together more than 40 emerging creatives for a two-week run, from the 27th of November to the 8th of December at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden.
Producer Lexi Clare says,
"Maiden Speech emerged from a desire to promote positive change within the theatre industry and to give life to exciting new work being developed by emerging artists. Maiden Speech was named to reflect the festival's emphasis on new work and change-making agenda, but also to honour the late Jo Cox, whose life and legacy has had an enormous impact on my resolve to actively become an agent of change."
In 2018, the festival will present drag performance and dark comedy, cabaret and spoken word, solo shows and so much more. Maiden Speech is committed to challenging the representation of women in theatre, with an entirely female-identifying production team and 87% of the programme created by female-identifying artists. The production team is also entirely comprised of theatre-makers who identify as LGBT+. This year, Maiden Speech are using their platform to raise funds for Stonewall, an organisation that campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain.
Programme highlights include Kayla Feldman’s Hear Me Out , a spoken word show interrogating bodily autonomy and concepts of womanhood, and Wallis Hamilton Felton’s Dirty Laundry that weaves together storytelling and Irish folk music in a haunting new solo piece about the Magdalene Laundries.
In Sarah Wanendeya’s Becoming The Invisible Woman , a woman ‘awakens’ to find herself middle-aged, stuck in a rut, and confused, whilst in Rachel Causer’s When It Happens, three women rebel against self-doubt, micro-aggressions, and the roles they’ve been forced to play for far too long.
Performances we're looking forward to
The following performances are either written by or feature LBQ women, or contain an LBQ storyline. We can't wait!
Hear Me Out
‘I remember who made my skin crawl before I remember who made it come alive.’
Inspired by pornography, Disney princesses, Hollywood stereotypes, the Leeds club scene, and a conversation with a university housemate, Hear Me Out explores concepts of womanhood from the broadly political to the deeply personal. Written over the course of three years, this spoken-word show traverses a lifelong battle for self-acceptance and autonomy.
Written and performed by Kayla Feldman (pictured right)
Directed by Lucy Foster
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, Eating disorders, Self-abuse
Recommended 16+ (This performance contains partial nudity, strong language and adult content)
Sheffield, 2018. Jay is about to turn 28. And she reckons she's about to die.
She's got it all worked out; when she'll die, how she'll die and why she'll die. It's not all rational but who ever let that get in the way of a premature death fantasy?
Tumours is a witty, tender, and darkly funny portrayal of a young woman trapped by the fate of her genetic legacy.
Written and performed by Ashleigh Laurence (pictured right)
When It Happens
When it Happens follows the story of three ordinary women on what they thought would be a normal day, filled with the usual micro-aggressions and general self-doubt. And then it happens. At exactly 2.16pm, a strange phenomenon occurs and each woman experiences a transformation, breaking free from the roles they’ve been forced to fulfill and beginning a rebellion against everything and everyone who put them there in the first place.
When it Happens is a surreal comedic three-hander that asks: ‘When is enough actually enough?
Written by Rachel Causer
Directed by Kennedy Bloomer
Cast: Róisín Bevan (pictured right), Rachel Causer, Niamh Watson
Jodie loves him, sincerely. He doesn’t know she exists.
Bored with New York suburbia, Jodie moves to Harlem with her best friend Robyn and the age-old ambition of making something of herself. As she battles a hostile work environment and her own jealousy at seeing Robyn in a blossoming lesbian relationship, Jodie finds solace in celebrity fandoms, where her admiration for a male celebrity quickly turns dangerous. Written in verse, the play explores questions of privilege, sexuality, female friendship, pop culture, and love.
Written by Roxane Bourges (pictured right)
Cast: Roxane Bourges, Savannah Davies
The queer child lives next-door to time, peeping in the windows and practising.
Growing up is memories rearranged in a straight line with the volume turned down,
Being scolded for getting wrong the rules that nobody ever quite explains - shh.
Playing games that go on that go on that go on that go on and I’m bored,
Powerful and invisible, full of magic and the potential to disappoint.
I’m still here.
Begin to where? I’ll tell you a secret,
Sing along if you know the words, being not-yet-grown can hurt,
And this isn’t a metaphor so shut up and do what I tell you.
Minor Disruptions piles comedy and storytelling and autobiography on top of each other to present a fascinating performance exploring childhood and belonging.
Written and performed by Katie Paterson (pictured right)
Tuesday 27 November - Saturday 8 December 2018
Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower St, London WC2H 9NP
Individual Performance: £7.50
Evening/Matinee Pass: £15.00
Festival Pass: £27.50
Tristan Bates Theatre
020 3841 6611
About Lexi Clare Productions
Lexi Clare is the Producer of Maiden Speech.
Lexi Clare is a New Zealand producer, actress and director, now based in London. She graduated from Mountview Academy Of Theatre Arts with a MA Performance in 2016.
Lexi Clare Productions emerged from a desire to contribute to the theatrical landscape in a way that challenges the dominant image of gender in theatre and to champion the voices of emerging artists.
Check out the reviews from last year's Maiden Speech festival here.