Damned Rebel Bitches redresses the imbalance of work that shuns older female voices

Damned Rebel Bitches

Based on real discussions with women aged over 65, Sandy Thomson's script gives voice to those less heard

'I saw about three pieces in a row where the older female character either died so their funeral could give young characters a life-changing moment, or they gave advice then disappeared whilst the young characters went out on adventures,' says Sandy Thomson of Scots theatre company Poorboy. 'I never saw any of the tough and funny older women who raised me reflected on stages or screens, instead I saw thoughtless scripts by men who cast these women as functions that serviced the young, normally male, main character's arc and life.'

Damned Rebel Bitches is her attempt to redress the balance, telling the tale of two sisters in their eighties and their lives from the Clydeside Blitz of 1941 to Hurricane Sandy hitting New York in 2012. The script is a combination of influences, from real discussions with women aged over 65 and Thomson becoming a gran for the first time, to the 'part art, part luck, part mission' wonder of a successful marriage.

'I always say I hope our show makes audiences laugh, cry and phone their families, that's success to me,' says Thomson. 'The majority of ticket buyers for theatre are women over 50, I hope they enjoy seeing themselves reflected onstage being pivotal and vital here. Equally I really believe this is a show for everyone; it's about the intense and sprawling connections across the decades that make up a family, and I think absolutely anyone can relate to that.'

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 30 Sep; Platform, Glasgow, Wed 4 Oct; Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 7 Oct; and touring Scotland.

Damned Rebel Bitches

A very personal tribute by writer/director Sandy Thomson to the resourceful, independent and risk-taking Scottish women of the war years generation, who lost everything – more than once. The show features music by all of Ella’s favourite females: from Nina Simone to Beyonce.

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