Bechdel Theatre was born in a D&D satellite in 2015 - it started as a twitter page to retweet shows that pass the Bechdel test, and has grown into a Community Interest Company with a number of different ongoing projects which all aim to hold a space for conversations about gender and representation on stage, and amplify and connect under-represented artists (including a podcast, blog, social media and stickers at festivals highlighting shows that pass the Bechdel test)

I spoke to about 5 or 6 different people about the ways Bechdel Theatre works with venues and companies to engage audiences in conversations about representation.

- We host audience discussions called BECHDEL CIRCLE (because we sit in a circle) which pose questions to the audience to stimulate conversation about the themes of a show we've just seen. These can be held after a show, or (if the show is a long one) on a designated afternoon (open to anyone who has seen the show at any time during the run), and are often held in theatre bars or cafes, as opposed to inside the auditorium. Artists/creatives are invited to attend but under no obligation or expectation to speak about their work - they can just listen if they want to. We're looking for shows and theatre spaces which would benefit from this kind of discussion.

- We have created a series of workshops (after we started receiving invitations to run them by various venues, organisations, & universities) on things like: Empowering Actors, Creative Inspiration, and Selling Your Feminist Show. We've been developing and running these since 2017 and are looking for more opportunities to deliver them.

Questions asked were:

Q: Do the Bechdel Circle discussions happen outside London?
A: They haven't yet, but we hope to reach out to venues outside of our home city by visiting - perhaps to deliver a number of different activities in another location to make the journey multi-purpose - to work with local colleagues who like the sound of the format of our discussions. If we lead some to

Are the workshops suitable for participants who aren't theatre-makers/performers, do they ever happen in non-theatre spaces?
A: YES! We have held them at spaces such as youth clubs and Fun Palaces. They're open to everyone with any level of experience and we're always working on how we can make them accessible and enjoyable for more people.

Would you consider doing work in an academic institution or with academics?
A: Yes, we have worked with a few universities, although our approach is not academic in itself we love to come into these spaces & cross paths & minds with academics (interested in theatre/gender, or any other topics)

Can we have a post-show conversation at an unconventional venue or touring show?
A: YES what kind of venue?
Castles around the UK.
A: YES PLEASE we're going to try and do this.

Can a one-woman show pass the Bechdel test?
A:Yes absolutely.

How relevant is the Bechdel test as a talking point?
A: It's a bit of a joke - literally originated in a comic book - but is a jumping off point. We don't focus on it, and are inspired by the ethos of it (and all of Alison Bechdel's work), we're not wedded to it as any kind of "measure" of feminism.

Do you ever talk to non-theatre people on your podcast, or work with people who are working in other kinds artforms?
A: Yes, we've had a few guests talking about film/tv as well as theatre, and we do a #bringafeministfriend feature on our podcast because we love hearing the perspectives on shows from people outside this industry.
We also take "Theatre" in its broadest term - we look at ALL forms of Performing Arts.This becomes especially relevant at festivals like Edinburgh/VAULT/Brighton where we love to highlight representation in cabaret and comedy.
There is also Bechdel Test Fest - a film festival that focuses on film.

I gave our contact details out to all interested in activities:
[email protected]