The Old Vic has announced two new commissions for International Women’s Day to be screened as part of the Your Old Vic programme. These One Voice monologues are written by Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Regina Taylor and will be broadcast on YouTube from 8 March 2021. Pritchard-McLean will direct Putting A Face On which will be performed by Susan Wokoma, and Tinuke Craig will direct Taylor’s Aisha (the black album) which will be performed by Jade Anouka.
Putting A Face On is a funny, dark and ultimately empowering monologue about gaslighting and how, despite positive strides towards gender equality, domestic abuse remains prevalent within so many women’s daily lives. As the Domestic Abuse Bill returns to the House of Lords for a second reading, as part of the ongoing campaign to offer further rights and protection to survivors through greater access to the safety and support they need, this new monologue offers insight into the nuances of emotional abuse, victim blaming and control.
Following the United States’ centenary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020, which gave the first women the right to vote in America, and Kamala Harris’ historic inauguration, Aisha (the black album) traces the history of Black women’s political power, from disenfranchisement to mobilisation against the backdrop of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 US election.
Kiri Pritchard-McLean said “I am utterly honoured to work with The Old Vic and equally thrilled to write something for one of the best talents we have, Susan Wokoma. It’s heartening to see that The Old Vic are striving to make new work in such difficult circumstances and the support from the theatre has allowed me to articulate my thoughts and fears about this bizarre period into this monologue. Don’t worry, there is jokes.”
Regina Taylor added:
“This is not the time to be silent.
Very excited to join these voices
to explore these fast shifting times”
These two new monologues will be presented as the culmination of a week-long celebration of International Women’s Day which will begin with the re-releasing of a selection of the One Hand Tied Behind Us One Voice series. Originally curated by Maxine Peake in 2018, this series marked 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act gave the first women in Britain the right to vote.
The re-released monologues are: Betsy by Ella Hickson, performed by Jill Halfpenny; Contactless by Maxine Peake, performed by Siobhan McSweeney; Imagine That by Kit de Waal, performed by Flo Wilson; and Mother’s Little Helper 1963 by Jeanette Winterson, performed by Celia Imrie.