Aiming to challenge audiences’ preconceptions about strippers, new play Angels, written by former table dancer and first-time playwright Diane Herbert, premieres at this year’s VAULT Festival, running for six performances from 19 to 23 February 2020 in the Cavern at The Vaults, Leake Street.
Austerity, free porn and “cashless society”… Because of these and other factors, the golden age of the strip club is long gone, but women keep auditioning with dreams of paying mortgages, supporting their families and pursuing their artistic careers. And those who stay are working harder than ever.
Is stripping still worth it? With clubs all over the world close, what will happen to the thousands of women using their special skills and talents to earn a decent living? Based on lived experiences, Angels look at a typical night in the life of three strippers in London and imagines a future that is already fast approaching.
At a time when the rights of sex workers are becoming more prominent in social justice discourse, Angels offers a close look at an industry that’s slightly past its prime, but still the source of many people’s income and an important resource for talented and creative women.
“This new piece is an honest reflection of the daily hazards strippers often face while also being a love letter to the dancers themselves” – Betty Vine, Form-Idea
Angels, the debut play by former stripper Diane Herbert, is based on countless true events from the lives of table dancers. The all-female creative team is led writer and director Beverly Andrews, whose own new play Annawon’s Song precedes Angels at this year’s festival.
The premiere production stars Yuliya Edgley, Laura Morris and Valerie Isaiah Sadoh. It is designed by Katharine Davies Herbst, with lighting by Vanessa Morton and sound by Martina Martinelli.
Angels is produced at VAULT Festival by Valerie Isaiah Sadoh for She’s Diverse, which is dedicated to creating and developing high-quality, female-centric work.
Prior to The Vaults, Beverly Andrews directed a staged reading of Angels at London’s Chapel Playhouse. Andrews is a director, playwright and documentary maker. Her other recent directing credits include A Sheep Chase (Global Arab Women Female Voices at Rich Mix) and The Polly Pocket and The Mum (The Female Edit at The Chapel Playhouse).
Her own play Annawon’s Song was shortlisted by the Sundance Theatre Lab and runner-up for the 2014 Alfred Fagan Award. It gets its world premiere at VAULT Festival on 15 and 16 February.
Sophia, Andrews’ play on the Asian suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh, was recorded as part of the Forgotten Women project and is available now on Spotify. Sophia was also performed in Bhutan at the country’s first private college, the Royal Thimpu College, as part the celebration of their ten-year founding. The piece will appear at London’s Tara Arts Theatre in May as part of their “I’ll Say it Again” festival of women’s work.
Hattie, Andrews’ play about actress Hattie McDaniel, will be published as part of The Female Gaze project, focus on the work of women in Hollywood, and will tour later this year. And Awa’s Journey, about the refugee crisis, is set to make its New York premiere at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Theatre for a New City in 2021.
Andrews’ documentary about the work of London’s Arcola Theatre, I am Going to Make a Miracle, has appeared in film festivals around the world, including Berlin, Greece, London, Rome, Mumbai and Washington. I am Going to Make a Miracle won the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke film festival jury prize for special mention documentary in Delhi.
About She’s Diverse
Producer Valerie Isaiah Sadoh launched She’s Diverse in 2016, initially as an online movement to campaign for more authentic representation of women and a diversity reshuffle in the theatre industry. Since then, She’s Diverse has won The Emerging Company Award 2017 and produced powerhouse plays from female writers and all-female cast and crew, such as Pussy Liberty (The Bread and Roses), Nuns (Tristan Bates Theatre), Top Secret House Party (Edinburgh Fringe) and now Angels.
As part of this year’s VAULT Festival, Angels runs at Cavern – The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN from 19 to 23 February 2020, with evening performances (60 minutes) at 9.20pm and Saturday matinee at 4.50pm. Tickets from £14. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!