As part of the centennial events around Emily Wilding Davison’s Epsom Derby protest, Kate Willoughby asked me to write a guest blog for her website.
Click here to read it
Kate's play TO FREEDOM’S CAUSE is currently on tour and is going to be at the Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden from 26th to 29th June.
Click here for more information about her play
I'm preparing at the moment for an upcoming Platform event at the National on Tuesday 25th June called 'Suffragettes on Stage'.
It's going to feature extracts from suffrage plays and a panel discussion about the work of the Actresses' Franchise League. Actresses Samantha Bond and Janie Dee are going to be on the panel with Professor Maggie Gale from the University of Manchester and myself. Baroness Genista McIntosh is chairing.
Samantha Bond directed a suffrage play for me called 'Lady Geraldine's Speech' in a triple bill of the plays called 'Knickerbocker Glories' at the Union Theatre in 2010 and Janie Dee took part in the first readings of the plays with me at the Novello and Prince of Wales Theatres back in 2008 - it'll be great to have their perspectives as both politically aware working women and actresses on their Edwardian counterparts. Hopefully it's a great mix on the panel - two tip top experienced, interested and intelligent actresses, a brilliant theatre historian and a Labour peer who has been on the boards of the RSC, the NT and the Opera House… and me ;)
I'll be signing copies of 'The Methuen Drama Book of Suffrage Plays' afterwards.
It's going to be a fantastic afternoon and will make the point (yet again) that women's work, writing and lives need to be celebrated, talked about and respected. Especially at the National Theatre.
It runs from from 2.30-4pm in the Lyttelton Theatre and tickets are £6.
CLICK HERE for more info and to book
Hope to see you there!
On the 17th June 1911 the Actresses' Franchise League took part in a Coronation Process in London - marching from Embankment to the Albert Hall.
Both militant and constitutional societies took part in what would be the biggest and last procession for Votes for Women. Held a week before George V's coronation it was hoped by the organisers that the Procession would encourage the new King to support the suffragists and their cause. Over 50,000 women representing societies from across the country and the world marched in a procession that was approximately six miles long. The whole thing was led by a woman dressed as Joan of Arc and riding a white horse and the procession included the WSPU's Drum and Fife band, a Suffragette Prisoners section and women dressed as a Pageant of Queens. It must have been an extraordinary sight!
The Actresses' Franchise League contingent marched five abreast carrying roses and wearing sashes in their colours of pink and green. The roses they carried were the variety 'Dorothy Perkins', developed in America by the company Jackson and Perkins, who are still in operation today.
Named for Charles Perkins' granddaughter, 'Dorothy Perkins' was introduced in 1901 and was a great success. In 1908, the rose won top honours at the Royal National Rose Society.
Thoughts, reflections, bits of research