Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Broken Heart At The Globe & Other Female-Directed Plays You've Got To See In 2015

The Debrief: Love theatre? Love female-directed theatre even more.

Last year a survey revealed that only 29% of directors in the biggest theatres in the UK were female and, of the artistic directors working across the 179 theatre organisations in Arts Council England’s national portfolio, the gender split was 63% male and 37% female. Aside from quitting all our jobs to direct massive West End productions and redress the balance, the very least you can do is get off your arse and go support some of the frankly brilliant female-directed productions due to hit theatres nationwide this year. And none of them are about tampons (not that this would deter us).

As The Globe limbers up for the premiere of John Ford's The Broken Heart - directed by the brilliant Caroline Steinbeis - we take a look at the five plays you've got to see, that just happen to be directed by some kick ass wimmin. Otherwise known as women. Or females. 

The Broken Heart - The Globe Theatre, March 12 - April 18, tickets here

Directed by Caroline Steinbeis

Who saw the inclusion of this play coming?! No but seriously, opening mid-March, this psychological study of love 'struggling to exist in a world of selfishness, jealousy and tawdry court politics' takes to the world-famous (and staggeringly beautiful) Globe stage and sees Amy Morgan (aka the charming Grace from Mr Selfridge) taking one of the lead roles. We love her. We also love director Caroline Steinbeis, who is one of the most exciting up-and-comers on the theatre circuit, having already bagged the JMK Award for Young Directors in 2009 and running her own production company Strike Ensemble. Go watch it if you're able to get down to the big smoke* (or you live in the big smoke).

*London. The big smoke refers to London. 

Broken Heart

Educating Rita - Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, ends March 7, tickets here 

Directed by Gemma Bodinetz

If you haven't seen Willy Russell's Educating Rita, then sort yourself out and get to the Playhouse for Gemma Bodinetz's revival that's landed four stars from The Guardian and widespread acclaim. The story of a young working class hairdresser (Rita) and a middle-aged alcoholic university lecturer, the entire play is set in the latter's office as she seeks to open her mind with an Open university degree. And he seeks to fund his drinking habit by tutoring her. Pretty unmissable stuff, tbh - but you've got to get in quick as it ends just next weekend. 

Educating Rita

Rites - touring the Tron Glasgow, Contact Manchester and Traverse Edinburgh in May, tickets here

Directed by Cora Bissett

Exploring the cultural history and deep rooted nature of Female Genital Mutilation, Rites is based on interviews and true stories from girls affected by FGM in the UK, mothers who feel they have to continue the practice, and the experiences of midwives, lawyers, police officers, teachers and health workers trying to combat it within their communities. Teaming up with performance poet/actor Yusra Warsama, Cora recently told The Guardian: 'We hope to ask questions of practices contained within many cultures and give space to discuss those very sensitive areas where cultural practice and human rights come into direct conflict.' Promises to be both upsetting and thought-provoking. 


Mermaid - Nuffield Theatre, April 28 - May 2, tickets here

Directed by Polly Teale 

If you like fantasy, fairytales and mermaids then probably check out this reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen's story on which the Disney movie was based on. It's way darker, more haunting and obviously not animated - using choirs of local young women to create a soundscape, as well as the directing talents of Polly Teale who has bagged the Evening Standard award for Best Director in the past.  Having worked at the National Theatre, and winning awards for her work on Mr Rochester, Polly's reimagining of Mermaid has been making it's way across the UK via Wales and Nottingham and garnering rave reviews, so catch it if you live within driving distance of the Nuffield.


High Society, The Old Vic, April 13 - 22 August, tickets here

Directed by Maria Friedman


Maria Friedman's a bit of a directing legend - having worked on Oliver-award-winning Merrily We Roll Along - and if you love musicals, this is the one to go and see. Socialites, weddings, miscommunications and goddamn cool costumes, it's a lavish load of fun that you can take a mate, your gran or your boyfriend to. Plus, The Old Vic has a really great bar. What. It's important. Oh, and if you book on the 13 June or 23 May, the audience are encouraged to dress up in their 'glad rags' and be ready to quaff champers throughout the performance - which sounds like our kind of musical, tbh. 

Like this? You might also be interested in...

Be Objectified. Be A Rape Victim. And Other Shit You Have To Deal With If You're A Bit Part Actress

New Report Says British TV Has A Severe Lack Of Female Directors

Swapping Male And Female Roles Shows How Sexist The Film Industry Really Is

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