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Shows To See 2024

Welcome to the traditional annual Bechdel Theatre procrastinating-our-tax-returns-listicle, featuring a bumper calendar of shows to see in 2024.


This contains a mix of productions to take you through to June! Some faves we've seen before that we're hyped to see getting a longer run; some new work by artists we know and love to see making new stuff; and some intriguing shows that caught our attention enough to get us excited about the year ahead.


Watch this space for more Bechdel Circle meet-up & conversation events (with accompanying discount codes for cheaper tix!) for some of these shows, plus more news coming soon, about our plans for 2024 👀


If you have any ideas or requests for events or activities you'd like us to organise or get involved with, drop a note in the Bechdel Theatre 2024 suggestion box (open til March), or email us any time (hello@bechdeltheatre.com)


On to the recs -


Godot Is A Woman

Kings Head Theatre 9th Jan - 3rd Feb


In 1953 a man wrote a play about waiting. In 1988 he sued five women for trying to perform it. In 2001 Madonna released What It Feels Like for a Girl. It's 2024 and we're still waiting. Since Samuel Beckett wrote Waiting for Godot, he and his estate have notoriously challenged - often legally - non-male companies that wish to perform it. A whip-smart interrogation of gender, authorial copyright and the cultural significance of Madonna's 1989 album Like a Prayer, Silent Faces return to London with their trademark style of playful, political, physical theatre, following a critically acclaimed UK tour.



Cowbois

Royal Court 11 Jan - 10 Feb


In a sleepy town in the Wild West, the women drift through their days like tumbleweed. Their husbands, swept up in the goldrush, have been missing for almost a year and show no sign of returning. In fact, the town is almost cut off from outsiders entirely, with only one drunken sheriff for protection.

That is until handsome bandit Jack Cannon swaggers up to the town’s saloon, looking for a place to hide from the bounty hunters on his tail.

Armed with a wink, and with a gun by their side for good measure, Jack’s explosive arrival inspires a gender revolution, and starts a fire under the petticoat of every one of the town’s repressed inhabitants.



Jade Anouka, a 30-something black woman with chin-length locs, wearing a dark hoodie, stands in side-profile against a lilac lit background. She looks over her shoulder, one eyebrow raised, as though she might be about to speak to someone.
Heart (photo by Henri T)

HEART 

Brixton House 23 Jan - 3 Feb


Jade Anouka’s debut play is a raw and honest exploration of love, loss, and self-discovery. The play tells the story of a woman grappling with the end of her marriage and the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

Told through poetry, HEART celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the beauty of human connection, this groundbreaking play is a must-see for all the misfits, all those who have ever felt “other”.

With live music and sound design by 4x UK Beatbox champion Grace Savage, expect performance poetry, gig theatre, spitting lyrics to beatboxing and heavy bass. 



Protest

Traverse Theatre Edinburgh Jan 26-27, then on tour until March 16


Running is Alice’s happy place. She’s the best runner at her school and can outrun everyone, even the boys…but she’s struggling to prove her worth.

Jade is being tested. Racist bullying and history classes that tell a one-sided story sets her on a mission to find out about her heritage and those who came before her.

Meanwhile, litter is piling up in the local forest. All over the world an environmental crisis is looming, the threat of disorder and division is growing.  Chloe is determined to make a change, starting with the town.

Three girls prepare to challenge the status quo and tackle injustices in this new play exploring the power of friendship, activism and believing in your own voice.



Jodie Mitchell: Becoming John Travulva

Soho Theatre 29 Jan – 3 Feb


John Travulva teams up with his tick-box protégé: queer, non-binary class-straddler Jodie Mitchell (Comedy Central Live).

But does he need to? He’s not sure, he gets plenty of praise as himself: ‘John Travulva’s set is so funny it makes all the comedy in my life up to this point redundant’ (TheatreBubble.com). ‘The comedy turn by John Travulva… left me with actual tears of laughter’ (Diva Magazine)



Self-Raising 

Soho Theatre 6 - 17 Feb & then on tour.


‘It starts with a secret, but this one’s different, this one’s mine.’ 

Award winning Artistic Director of Graeae, Jenny Sealey has spent a lifetime championing stories by Deaf and disabled artists. Now she takes to the stage to tell her own story.

Unravelling the past and facing the future, Self-Raising is a blisteringly honest, laugh-out-loud one-woman show about growing up deaf in a family with secrets.


Jenny Sealey, a middle-aged white woman with straight grey-blonde hair cut to just below her chin. She's wearing a grey shirt and silver necklace that match the grey backdrop behind her. From above her, flour sprinkles down like rain, the white dust just about landing on her shoulders. She looks directly into the camera, with a slightly stern or resigned expression, her pink-lipsticked lip just curling up at one side, as though she might be about to speak, or has just said something and is waiting for a response.
Self-Raising


Dear Young Monster

Bristol Old Vic 22 Feb - 9 Mar


Struggling at the beginning of his medical transition, a young trans man has dropped out of university and returned to his quiet hometown.

His friends are away, the locals are becoming increasingly hostile, his body is transforming before his very eyes into someone he doesn’t quite recognise yet and it’s all becoming too much... Until he catches a midnight screening of Frankenstein

At last, when he looks into the monsters big, dead, sad eyes, staring down at him from the screen, he feels seen.

Dear Young Monster is Pete MacHale’s debut solo show, pulling apart fear, otherness, and what it means to embrace being the monster that the world keeps telling you that you are.



52 Monologues For Young Transexuals

Soho Theatre 4 - 16 Mar


52 Monologues for Young Transsexuals is a raucous and unapologetic speed-drive through transfeminine experience.

Performers Laurie Ward and Charli Cowgill sat down with other trans women to get sleepover-honest about bodies, sex and love. Armed with baby oil and lots of pink glitter, they’re taking you from Barbra Streisand to BDSM, in a fever dream of hilarious and gut-wrenching confession.

And no – there aren’t actually 52 Monologues…



Cowboys and Lesbians

The Park Feb 21 - Mar 9


Nina and Noa are 17 and wasting their youth on flashcards and fantasies about their teachers. They’ve never been to a party, they’ve never been kissed, and they’re absolutely never going to admit that they fancy each other. That is, until they start writing a Hollywood romance, inventing a fantasy world of lust, betrayal, and sexy cowboys. But, while making fun of all the classic teen romance clichés, they begin to realise that the real love story might have been under their noses the whole time... 

Cowboys and Lesbians is a queer romantic comedy which examines the intersection between sexuality and fantasy through the eyes of two closeted teenage girls, highlighting just how much the stories we consume affect the ones we tell about ourselves. 



Two slices of raw red meat hang from wooden clothes pegs, some slips of paper with handwriting on also clipped in the pegs
High Steaks (photo by PARL/Matjaž Rušt)


High Steaks 

New Diorama Mar 12 - 23


A show about labia, labia-shaming, cosmetic surgery and - fundamentally - body lovin'. Award-winning queer performer Eloina hangs two beef steaks from her labia, butchers them up & sizzles them on a grill. And... her mum is in the show.

Seamlessly melding performance art and comedy clowning, High Steaks takes on rising demands in young people for labiaplasty - plastic surgery to make the labia smaller/more symmetrical. 

Through live conversations with her mum and recorded interviews with labia-owners, this extraordinary, joyful show offers a call for increased visibility of varied vulvas - and a celebration of our vulvas in all their shapes & sizes.



Doughnuts and Ice Cream


Full of laughter, play and inside jokes, three women take us on an exhilarating journey through poetic conversations about love and success – however, beyond surface level conversations and smiling faces, there is something much deeper taking place in their lives. As Noelle goes through a lengthy journey to diagnosis for endometriosis, we see it affect her dynamic with best friends Gabby and Jazz, as well as her relationship with partner Andre as they navigate difficult conversations around fertility. Their friendship quickly becomes more than a place to thrive but also a safe place to break as they piece back together her faith and view of womanhood.⁠ Doughnuts and Ice Cream is Tamzin Murray's debut play.



Is Dat U Yh

Brixton House April 17 - 27


Tamagotchi’s, Pokemon and alien babies.

“a time where laughter was free and nonsense was all we knew”

It’s when you couldn’t be on the phone and the internet at the same time. It’s where you learned insults were a love language. It’s when spittin battles at lunchtime could get you happy-slapped.

Tolu and the “Back Of the Bus Queens” relive and rediscover their love of home, in this joyous and whacky adventure down memory lane. 

Surreal memories, short stories, and nonsense!

Theatre. Dance. Lyricism & school daze nostalgia!



Sweat

Royal Exchange April 26 - May 25


A sweeping state-of-the-nation play that embraces huge political and economic ideas in a magnificent gritty social drama. Nottage’s stunning writing pits friend against friend as social and racial tensions, once buried by a sense of solidarity, soon rise to the surface in this breathtaking drama.

Tracey and Cynthia are best friends, and after 20 years on the factory floor their friendship is ingrained with the sweat of shared manual labour. Together, in this small Pennsylvanian town, they have celebrated birthdays, stood firm for each other and laughed until they cried. But as fat-cat factory owners look for cheaper options, where unions are no trouble, and employees will work for less, these women are about to have the rug pulled out from under everything they know.



Love Steps 

Omnibus Theatre 3 - 20 April


Anna’s life is sorted. What’s not to like? She’s in her 30s, still ‘young gifted and Black’… or so she hopes. She’s driven, ambitious and surviving in a turbulent world – but despite all this, there’s one thing that’s missing – love. 

Could being in your 30s ‘gifted and Black’ be the problem? Is it her, is it them, or is it love itself? Through a fusion of poetry, spoken word, dance and music (R&B, Hip Hop, Gospel) we see Anna take her Love Steps

In her debut play, writer Anastasia Osei-Kuffour asks: What are the pressures placed on people to find a significant other – and how are you viewed if you haven’t? Does finding love define your identity or can your self-worth and self-esteem exist outside of that? Why is there a timeline in society by which we should have completed certain life events? 



3 young women in casual clothes - baggy trousers, warm jackets, trainers. They stand, looking seriously at the camera, in the middle of the road on a suburban street lined with autumnal trees.
Liberation Squares

Liberation Squares

Nottingham Playhouse Apr 12-27, then on tour until May 29


Three teenage girls forge an unlikely friendship when they meet at a creative writing workshop at a hip new café/workspace which used to be their library. They challenge each other with ideas, Tik Toks, lyrics, dance routines. But when they discover the workshop is connected to the state surveillance ‘Prevent’ programme, they have to fight back. The only question is how? Friendships fracture and loyalties are tested as they pursue different avenues of resistance. 

A story of sisterhood, freedom of speech and creative expression, in an era when dissent is being criminalised and the state follows your every move, online and offline. Why does being an outspoken Muslim girl have to be so damn hard?



Underdog: The Other Bronte  

National Theatre 17 Mar - 25 May &  Northern Stage 7 - 22 June


Charlotte Brontë has a confession to make about how one sister became an idol, and the other became known as the third sister. You know the one. No, not that one. The other, other one… Anne.

This is not a story about well-behaved women. This is a story about the power of words. It’s about sisters and sisterhood, love and jealousy, support and competition.

Directed by Northern Stage Artistic Director Natalie Ibu (The White Card), Sarah Gordon’s (The Edit) new play is an irreverent retelling of the life and legend of the Brontë sisters, and the story of the sibling power dynamics that shaped their uneven rise to fame.



Perfect Show For Rachel

Barbican Centre 24 May - 9 June


Step into Rachel's world as this experimental show returns following a critically acclaimed run. Discover how a learning disabled artist has the power to lead the creation of her ‘Perfect Show’. Rachel is a theatre-loving, enigmatic 33 year-old who loves Kylie Minogue, heckling from the front row and seeing people falling over. She is a learning disabled care-home resident, and sister to Flo, Zoo Co’s Artistic Director.

Sitting on-stage on a throne with her custom-built tech desk, Rachel takes charge as the director of every unique performance in real-time. A touch of a button can trigger music, lighting, theatrical scenes or choreography, brought to life instantly by a company of performers.



Rachel, a white learning disabled woman in her early-30s, wearing her brown hair in space-buns and an oversized red jacket, sits smiling at her tech-desk which is covered in dozens of large hand-sized buttons. Her sister, Flo, with long red hair and glasses, leans over the desk and holds out a hairbrush towards Rachel's mouth, as though it's a microphone. Next to Rachel, their Mum sits smiling, and slightly further away a person typing at a keyboard. Everyone looks at Rachel, encouraging her to speak into the hairbrush mic.
Perfect Show For Rachel (photo by Tristram Kenton)


That's all for now!

As always, let us know if you've seen something on our recommendation - we're always curious to know what you thought of a show.


Beth, Pippa & Jess

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