100 Great Plays For Women

NT with temporary theatre credit Philip Vile

‘There just aren’t any good plays for women,’ or so some would have us think. Women buy the majority of theatre tickets, make up half the acting profession, and are often the largest cohort of any youth theatre or drama club. And yet they have traditionally been underrepresented on stage. But author and theatre director Lucy Kerbel disagrees that the opportunity for great roles just doesn’t exist for women, and set out to challenge this assumption in her groundbreaking book 100 Great Plays For Women . Now, in a running series of talks at the National Theatre she will explore a few of these hundred. Well-known, obscure, much-loved and forgotten plays are discussed and performed in these thought-provoking sessions. 100 Great Plays for Women seeks to address the gender gap on the stage by celebrating the wealth of drama available for women to perform.

The talks will take place in the Clore Learning Centre at the Cottesloe Room at the world-famous theatre on the South Bank. and run for six weeks from October 1st.


Week 1: Power
Wednesday 1 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Plays covered: Welcome to Thebes by Moira Buffini, Numbers by Kieron Barry, The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca, The Amen Corner by James Baldwin and Breath Boom by Kia Corthron. Guest speaker Moira Buffini

Week 2: One Woman Plays
Wednesday 8 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Plays covered: Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell, Bed Among the Lentils by Alan Bennett, Grounded by George Brant, Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall and Happy Days by Samuel Beckett. Guest speaker Christopher Haydon

Week 3: Domestic Dramas
Wednesday 15 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Plays covered: August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, Dear Octopus by Dodie Smith, Men Should Weep by Ena Lamont Stewart, Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley and Phèdre by Jean Racine.


Week 4: Women Behaving Badly
Saturday 8 November, 11.30am-1.30pm
Plays covered: The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus, The Maids by Jean Genet, The Boston Marriage by David Mamet, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress by Alan Ball and Attempts on her Life by Martin Crimp.

Week 5: War
Saturday 15 November, 11.30am-1.30pm
Plays covered: Cockroach by Sam Holcroft, Women of Troy by Euripides, Goodbye My Fancy by Fay Kanin, Pax by Deborah Levy and Summer by Edward Bond. Guest speaker Sam Holcroft

Week 6: The World of Work
Saturday 22 November, 11.30am-1.30pm
Plays covered: A Chat with Mrs Chicky by Evelyn Glover, Nine Till Six by Aimee and Philip Stuart, Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, Contractions by Mike Bartlett and The Stepmother by Gita Sowerby. Guest speaker Professor Gilli Bush-Bailey

Lucy Kerbel by Slav Kirichok Lucy Kerbel is the Director of Tonic Theatre and an award-winning theatre director. Having begun her career as    Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio and English Touring Theatre, Kerbel went on to direct a range of classics, new writing and productions for younger audiences. In addition to directing she travels the country in the capacity of consultancy, lecturing, and working extensively in theatre education.

Book tickets online at nationaltheatre.org.uk or call the Box Office on 020 7452 3000, from 9.30am to 8pm.

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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