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UEA presents a festival of women playwrights

The University of East Anglia’s (UEA) School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing presents “Roaring Women: American Writers”, a festival of women playwrights.

Final year drama students will produce and perform five plays, written between 1916 and 1934, showcasing the work of four pioneers of American theatre. In a period of history where men in America were churning and bustling, the women were silently roaring. These writers, decades ahead of their time, found a voice for women in a patriarchal society. A century later, their words speak just as strongly as when they were first written.

“The Children’s Hour” by Lillian Hellman

“This is not really a play about lesbianism, but about lies”. – Lillian Hellman.

Set in 1934 rural America at an all-girls boarding school. Amidst a backdrop of gossip, lies and secrets, rumours of a sexual relationship between two women have the potential to ruin lives. But is the word of a schoolgirl to be believed over two respected women? The women’s values will be tested as they expose the fragile threads that hold their lives together.

“The Children’s Hour” is preceded by Ruth Draper’s satirical short plays “A Class in Greek Poise” and “The Italian Lesson”. Shedding light on the social constraints placed upon women of the time, we question whether our current society has really progressed.

“Machinal” by Sophie Treadwell.

Set in booming 1920s New York and inspired by the real life conviction of Ruth Snyder, UEA Drama presents Sophie Treadwell’s “Machinal”. The play follows the struggles of one young woman’s battle for meaning, trapped in the unrelenting and unforgiving machine of Industrial America. James Robert Carson casts seven diverse actresses in the lead role, catapulting this prolific work into the modern day.

Preceding this will be, Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles”, one of the first Feminist plays. Even now, can it really be said that women have complete autonomy over their bodies and minds? Examine the structures that govern us all, and witness the destructive consequences.

The plays will be performed in repertoire from 4 to 9 December, at the UEA Drama Studio. “The Children’s Hour”, “Greek Poise” and “The Italian Lesson”, will be performed at 7.30pm on 4, 6 and 8 December with a 2pm matinee on Saturday 9 December. “Machinal” and “Trifles”, will be performed at 7.30pm on 5, 7 and 9 December.

Tickets are £7 /£5 concessions and are available online here and group bookings can be arranged by emailing LDC.Dramastudio@uea.ac.uk   

Visit www.uearoaringwomen.com for more information about the productions and ticket bookings.