It was never illegal for women to act – Does this knowledge make a difference? Is a revision of history relevant to making better work now? 

Convener(s): Sarah Grange/Ellan Parry

Participants: Sarah, Ellan, Victoria

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations

After some discussion of the truth about female performers in Tudor theatre (they did exist, it wasn’t illegal, we have all been lied to), we concluded that, as female theatre practitioners, it does make a difference. It’s empowering to know women were not excluded, that we have a historical claim to theatrical spaces.

We discussed the sexualisation of the female body and whether it is possible to combat this. We talked about how weird it is that for such an allegedly liberal art form, the pervading attitude within theatre is still pretty rubbish when it comes to the portrayal of/ attitude to/ employment of women.

Although we answered the question of relevance with an unequivocal “Yes. It’s relevant!” there were only three of us at the session, which may somewhat prove us wrong..

To conclude, we maintained that the disempowering lie about the historical position of women within the theatre must be destroyed, at which point we went to spread the word at the session about how women can gain some of the chutzpah of young men. However, on arrival, there was so much chutzpah we couldn’t get a word in edgeways, so hopefully that means it’s all going to be alright.