What is Are There Female Gorillas?
“Male gorillas are called “Silverbacks”. Female gorillas have no name. Female gorillas… Female gorillas have less facts about them on google because no one seems to study them as much as the males.”
Meet Girl & Gorilla, handcuffed in a world of patriarchal gaze. Girl is shaved, Gorilla is hairy. This is a problem. One they can't solve easily.
Girl & Gorilla have been together forever, but hairiness has become a fundamental issue. Where once existed friendship, now antagonism rules. Girl is compulsive about removing all traces of hair - an impossible task when handcuffed to Gorilla. The key disappeared long ago. They are unavoidably stuck together. How do they co-exist, and is this the day that will change everything?
★★★★ SpyInTheStalls -- ‘clown-like playfulness and infectious energy’
★★★★ Underdog -- ‘writing is slick...sizzles with energy and is a relevant, punchy piece’
Written, devised & performed by Sophie Ablett & Grace Strickland de Souza, Are There Female Gorillas? explores and interrogates the still-taboo topic of female body hair. Female grooming practices are ritualistic and hugely secretive - there remains an atmosphere of shame and denial around women even growing body hair! This show looks to explore both the absurdity and damaging nature of such attitudes.
Sophie and Grace have blended spoken word, gorilla facts, gameplay and comedic new writing to produce a piece that is experimental and entertaining, with activism at its core. Opening conversations about problematic female beauty standards, and how that fits into a broader discussion about feminism and sexism, is an essential aim.
Are There Female Gorillas? has been programmed at two festivals this summer: the 2019 Brighton Fringe Festival, England’s largest Arts festival, and Calm Down, Dear Festival at Camden People’s Theatre, a renowned London theatre dedicated to supporting early-career artists making unconventional theatre. This is an incredible opportunity for us to platform the show and connect with new venues and new creatives.
Funds raised will support production expenses, most importantly the cost of rehearsal space, but will also enable us to run workshops with theatre students about the devising techniques and spoken word elements of the show. The broader project of Are There Female Gorillas? also includes curating an online gallery, featuring photography and art films about female bodies and body hair. This is key to the project’s aims - this is a real opportunity to reach a bigger audience and truly instigate discussion about women’s bodies and feminism more broadly. We are delighted to be partnering with The Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights, who share our aims.
We would love Are There Female Gorillas? to pave the way for more open conversation about the taboo of the female body and its hairiness. Why is female body hair so stigmatised? Why is there so much pressure on women to change themselves because of societal expectations? And how do we relieve that pressure and enable women to reclaim their bodies, have agency and make their own choices? These are questions and debates that we want everyone to have. This is not a show solely for women, this is a show for everybody - we all need to be part of this conversation! We hope you’ll support the project and join the hairy fun.
Klein Blue is a theatre collective making work that is innovative, urgent, visual and visceral. Combining theatre and live art, we experiment with form, whilst exploring vital topics that provoke debate.
Four regular collaborators, Sophie Ablett, Emily Renée, Grace Strickland de Souza and Tatiana Collet-Apraxine, came together in mid-2018 to found Klein Blue. The collective launched with a fundraising exhibition at The Old Street Gallery, curating photography series and art films alongside an installation on the collective’s first joint theatre project, Getting Less Lonely. This piece was staged at The Drayton Arms earlier this year, with Audience Club awarding it 4*: ‘Their representation of human experience was brilliantly observed and imaginatively delivered’.
Sophie and Grace are the leading project artists for Are There Female Gorillas?. Sophie’s work includes acting for West End and BBC1/FX, and her spoken word has featured at UN HeForShe fundraiser at VAULT ‘18, Rebel Fest and The Big Red Poetry Tour. Her work has been staged at The Cockpit, The Etcetera and Theatre503. Grace works as a director, theatre-maker and artist, and she has worked at CPT, CSM Studio, Ugly Duck, Hackney Attic, Royal Academy of Arts, Resonance FM, IKLEKTIC, and Toynbee Hall.
Klein Blue is a young, ambitious collective of distinctive individual artists, excited to be forging a unique approach to creating new work.
Questions? Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways to support us:
Come and watch the show!
Theatre Box @ The Warren, Brighton Fringe - 27th & 30th May 2019 Tickets Here
Calm Down, Dear @ Camden People's Theatre - 31st May - 1st June 2019 Tickets Here
Special edition Girl/Gorilla tote bags designed by Ella Strickland de Souza are also on sale with a donation from each bag going to The Fawcett Society. Get Yours Here