Sue Parrish, director of Women Centre Stage Festival, playwright Winsome Pinnock and actress Maggie Steed, come together discuss the importance of creating great roles for women.

Women Centre Stage: Power Play is a Festival celebrating women in theatre, which opened this week with workshops at The Actors Centre and will finish with a day of performances on the 20th November at Hampstead Theatre.

The aim of the Festival is to bring together an explosion of creative talent focused on female characters and stories Sue Parrish tells us, it is a vital and powerful platform for unheard voices and perspectives through the talents of major writers and actors.

We’ve brought together an amazing team of playwrights to create new work for the Festival, with the specific aim of putting female protagonists at the centre of the story. One new play we will be presenting is Tituba by Winsome Pinnock. The play lays bare the raw truth of the real story behind the modern classic, The Crucible, I am very excited that Women Centre Stage has made the space for this story to be told.

While Tituba makes a memorable appearance in Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible says Winsome, her central role in the Salem Witch Trials is marginalised by Miller's allegorical focus on the McCarthy era persecutions of socialist artists. This one woman show starring Cecilia Noble takes the form of a slave narrative, placing Tituba centre stage and revealing her active resistance to her enslavement. I would like to acknowledge the book Tituba, Reluctant Witch of Salem by Professor Elaine Breslaw as part of the inspiration for the piece.

A female perspective on life and the world is even more urgent now for everyone, agrees Maggie Steed who will also be  joining the Festival to perform in the 24 Hour Play’s programme, women writers need as much encouragement to be brave and visionary as possible.

Tituba will be presented in the New Women programme on the Festival Performance Day on the 20th of November at Hampstead Theatre, there are 7 programmes of work being presented on the day between 12:00 pm and 9.00pm, with new writing from; Rebecca Lenkiewicz, April De Angelis, Charlene James, Howard Brenton and Vinay Patel. Also featuring new work by GRAEAE Theatre Company, Battleface by Sabrina Mahfouz and A Perfect Match by Tanika Gupta

Plus an all-star cast including, Stella Gonet, Dame Janet Suzman, Ann Mitchell, Josette Simon OBE, Maggie Steed and Kathryn Pogson. Plus Anita Joy Uwajeh, Yvette Boakye, Ronke Adekoloujo, Kathryn O'Reilly, Agni Scott, Jeany Sparks, Chetna Pandya, Louise Cordwell and many more.

Tickets are available from http://www.womencentrestage.co.uk/tickets

Women Centre Stage is supported by Arts Council England, The Women's Playhouse Trust (aka The Wapping Project), The Teale Charitable Trust, Backstage Trust and Freemantle Media.  

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