Playhouse Creatures

Playhouse Creatures

Dundee Rep, Sat 27 Oct–Sat 10 Nov


April De Angelis’ Playhouse Creatures focuses on the first women in theatre. According to actress Irene McDougall, who plays Mary Betterton, the play ‘looks at women’s struggle in a male world. There are lots of political moments, for example men would get profit share but women had to fight a long time for theirs, echoing the situation today when women are still not equally paid.’

De Angelis’ play tells the story of five of the first female actors to grace the British stage in restoration London. ‘We see snapshots of the lives of these remarkable women through an arc of time from 1670 till 1690,’ says McDougall. ‘The play shows how women went from becoming actresses to being known as prostitutes. It’s about their relationships and their highs and lows as women and actors.’

The play explores a pivotal point in both British theatre and women’s rights. ‘In a patriarchal society, these women were paid badly; they weren’t allowed to be pregnant and there was to be no scandal,’ McDougall continues. ‘The theatre they were working in would once have been a bear pit and the women were treated no differently. They were metaphorically chained, economically and intellectually and they still had to dance to the men’s tune. It’s not a play about hating men; it’s about what the situation was like for these women.’

Playhouse Creatures

Dundee Rep Ensemble's acclaimed female members are a 'tour de force' in their own right. However, the Rep brings them together in a witty, faced-paced play about the first woman in Britain to be allowed to perform on a stage over 350 years ago. Signed performance on 8 Nov.

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