6 Female-Written Plays To Go To (Especially If You Didn’t Get Fleabag Tickets)

So Phoebe Waller-Bridge's stage adaptation of Fleabag sold out in minutes. But that doesn't mean there isn't loads more great female theatre out there to see.

6 Female-Written Plays To Go To (Especially If You Didn't Get Fleabag Tickets)

by Stevie Martin |
Published on

Didn't get a ticket for Fleabag at The Soho Theatre? Neither did I. And, annoyingly, excellent theatre written by women is often hard to come by. Not because women aren't excellent (imagine if that was my overall point), but because their just isn't enough female-written theatre bandying around the UK at the moment. Studies have shown that only around 30% of plays in the UK are by women, and that when it comes to large theatres with multiple spaces like The National, the men tend to get the bigger rooms. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that plays written by women draw only 17% of UK theatre audiences. Either way, it's a culture that needs to change - so you can help by going and supporting live female-written theatre. If you're not sure what to see, these six plays are a pretty good start.

1. Skin A Cat by Isley Lynn

This is making some serious waves all over London, having first made a splash at the Vault festival, and then getting an immediate transfer to The Bunker, London's newest, coolest, theatre space. Similar to Fleabag, it's semi-autobiographical, a sharply funny, sad and ambitious look at sexual awakening, and what it means to have a 'normal' sex life. Which, as we all know, doesn't actually mean anything.


October 12 - November 5 at The Bunker - book here.

2. Birth by various

Not a play necessarily, but a season of plays written by 7 leading female playwrights across the globe, all dedicated to that messy and terrifying process that is pushing a baby out of your vagina. In fact, it's not just plays - there are talks, debates, and baby yoga - but in terms of the plays on offer, there's a lot to get excited about. From a rehearsed reading of Laura Lomos's Clean Break: These 4 Walls, a story of two women in a prison cell, through to Swati Simha's ferocious Ouroboros, a play looking at mass sterilisation in India. Thought provoking, important stuff.

October 19 - 22 at The Royal Exchange. Book here.

3. Acorn The Play by Maud Dromgoole

Ever find yourself boxing your life into some sort of narrative? This clever reiimagining of two ancient myths - that of Persephone and Eurydice - takes a look at the roles women give themselves, and challenges why we all try to fit to a 'story' - whether that's the 'happy' one, the 'successful' one, or the 'doomed'. Already nominated for two Offies (that's the awards for Off West End shows, if you're not down with the theatre jargon), this is an underworld myth for the 21st century. Plus, it's only an hour long so you can totally have a drink and a chat about it afterwards (bonus).

Oct 4 - 29 at The Courtyard Theatre - tickets available here.

4. Layla's Room by various

It's hard being young these days, and that's the central theme of this production centred around Layla and the shit she has to wade through every day. From pay gaps to thigh gaps via photoshopped selfies, the play was compiled by award-winning Sabrina Mahfouz and Theatre Centre from a survey of a thousand UK teenagers, who all spoke about life. Billed as a 'hard-hitting yet hopeful story of how girls just wanna have fun(demental human rights), this is a one-night-only to maybe also take your younger cousin/sis to.

Nov 1 at York Theatre Royal. Book here.

5. Where Do Little Birds Go? by Camilla Whitehill

First it smashed the crap out of the Edinburgh Festival back in 2015, now it's coming to London for a month-long run at the Old Red Lion Theatre. A beautiful, sad, but ultimately uplifting one-woman play about Lucy Fuller, who was kidnapped by the Kray Twins back in 1966. Following her story from small-town teen to London sex worker, it's dark stuff, but told with intelligence, humour, and laser-sharp focus.

November 1 - 26 at The Old Red Lion Theatre. Book here.

6. GIRLS by Theresa Ikoko

Three girls are just making their way through the daily sound and fury, when they're kidnapped, and their world is turned upside down. Realising that a hashtag can't help you kick a door down, survival becomes paramount throughout this production that's already received numerous accolades - including an Alfred Fagon Award (2015) and a George Devine Award (2016). Funny, dark, passionate and brave, this is definitely worth a punt.

*September 27 - October 29 at The Soho Theatre. Book here. *

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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