Unsung - King's Head Theatre
Monday 4 March 2019
London Fringe - Shows
A new play, celebrating history's forgotten women, by Lisa Holdsworth arrives at the King's Head Theatre from 14 to 15 April 2019.
Image courtesy Unsung Collective
Female theatre-makers team up with screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth to produce a new piece of feminist theatre charting the untold stories of the women who made - or ought to have made - British history.
UNSUNG explores the untold stories of Ada Lovelace, Sophia Jex-Blake, Lilian Bailey and Andrea Dunbar, asking why they, and hundreds like them, have been relegated to the footnotes of history.
The show is supported by Arts Council England and the Fenton Arts Trust, and will be at the King's Head Theatre in Islington as part of a national tour from 14 to 15 April.
The development of Unsung began when a group of female theatre-makers, collectively disgruntled with the tangible lack of engaging, multi-faceted female roles in the theatrical canon, came together to make a new show.
They formed a company, Unsung Collective, which in collaboration with award-winning writer Lisa Holdsworth (Call the Midwife, Ackley Bridge, Midsomer Murders) has created Unsung.
Elvi Piper, the show's Director and also Artistic Director of critically acclaimed theatre company Wrongsemble, explains ...
"We wanted to make something that interrogated in a lively and relatable way the underrepresentation of women in history, the theatre, and society at large."
Unsung questions why figures such as Lilian Bader, one of the first women of colour to serve in the British Armed Forces, and Ada Lovelace, whose visionary observations about the potential applications of the Analytical Engine foreshadowed modern day computer coding, are so absent from what we, as a nation, are taught of our history.
Writer Lisa Holdsworth adds ...
"It was so important to us to represent a diversity of disciplines and backgrounds in the characters - from the medical science to the arts, from the Victorian era to the 1980s, from up and down the country".
A sense of modernity is also important to the company, achieved through the use of contemporary dress, physical performance and the ambient electronics of Leeds-based band Peakes, featuring the stirring tones of vocalist Molly Puckering - another distinct female voice.
"Unsung is neither a history lesson, nor a historical drama, but a contemporary piece that explores with immediacy the very modern struggles of four inspiring historical women," explains the Alice Barber, the show's Producer.
She concludes ...
"We will raise public awareness of our protagonists' incredible achievements, draw attention to their lack of recognition, and in doing hope to so take meaningful steps towards altering the narrow perspectives that govern the way in which women are regarded today."
Heard of any of them?
Neither had we. And we're meant to be a group of feminists.
Unsung explores the untold stories of four pioneering and inspirational female figures from our past, asking why they, and hundreds like them, have been relegated to the footnotes.
They were bold. They caused riots. And it's about time their stories were told.
Ada Lovelace - Olivia Race
Sophia-Jex Blake - Kirsty Pennycook
Lilian Bader - Riana Duce
Andrea Dunbar - Claire-Marie Seddon
Author: Lisa Holdsworth
Director: Elvi Piper (Technical Director - Anne-Louise Fortune)
Designer: Antony Jones
Production: Unsung Collective
From: Sunday 14 April 2019
Closes: Monday 15 April 2019
ActDrop full listing for Unsung
Tour dates and Unsung website