What are we raising money for?
The first London production in over a hundred years of Just To Get Married, a romantic comedy by renowned suffragette Cicely Hamilton opens at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season on Tuesday, 25 July 2017.
Approaching her 30th birthday in early 20th Century England, the clever and poor Georgiana Vicary is waiting for the handsome but shy Adam Lankester to propose to her. Her friends expect her to get married, her adoptive parents expect it and more importantly, she expects it of herself – but will her conscience allow it? From a time when marriage was a socio-economic - rather than just a romantic – decision, Just to Get Married asks how we can have a marriage of equals when the genders are unequal.
Written by actress, journalist, playwright and suffragette Cicely Hamilton, and first produced at the Little Theatre in London in 1910, Just to Get Married was last produced in the UK at Birmingham Rep in 1918, and is now directed by Melissa Dunne, founder of the acclaimed gender blind play festival XY.
We are restaging this play as an action to redress the balance of representing female playwrights on the stage. There is a bias against women in theatre that is both unconscious and historical and this important work by a renowned suffragette deserves attention and a chance to reinforce its position in the theatrical canon. This is also a mostly female-led production, which means that off-stage gender equality is being achieved and celebrated.
Playwright Cicely Hamilton (1872-1952) co-founded the Women Writers’ Suffrage League and supplied the lyrics for The March of the Women, the anthem of Mrs Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union. Known for her novel and play Diana of Dobson’s (1908), revived at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in 2007, her polemic Marriage as a Trade (1909), and her play How The Vote Was Won (rediscovered at the Finborough Theatre in 2003), Hamilton also wrote A Pageant of Great Women, a highly successful women's suffrage play based on the ideas of her friend, the theatre director Edith Craig. During the First World War, Hamilton joined the army as an auxiliary nurse. After the war, she worked extensively as a freelance journalist writing about issues such as birth control.
Hamilton’s writing for the woman’s cause was a valuable, timely contribution to the growth of women’s rights, placing the women's voice centre stage and can serve as a precursor to the upcoming Suffragette Centenary in 2018, a marker of the 100th anniversary of all men and some women voting for the first time, in the general election of December 1918.
The press on playwright Cicely Hamilton
“This may be a delightful romp, but it’s also an insightful social history of pleasing substance.” Time Out on Diana of Dobson’s.
“This is an evening that combines erudite social commentary with comic pleasure. Unmissable.” The Times on Diana of Dobson’s.
“A forgotten gem of early 20th century feminist literarure. The wit and economy of Hamilton’s script and the nimbleness with which the actors negotiate that now rarest of things, a drawing-room comedy, is revelatory.” The Sunday Telegraph on Diana of Dobson’s.
Director Melissa Dunne is a theatre director, writer and dramaturg. She is Artistic Director of Papercut Theatre and has directed work in venues as diverse as Theatre503, Arcola Theatre, the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Festival Hall. Direction includes I’m Not Jesus Christ (Theatre N16, supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute), I Still Get Excited When I See A Ladybird (Theatre503), Extraction (Etcetera Theatre) and The Space Between My Head and My Body (Theatre503 and Edinburgh Festival). She founded and continues to creatively manage the acclaimed XY playwriting festival which has been produced at Hackney Showroom, Latitude Festival, Pleasance Edinburgh and Theatre503. She has read scripts for the literary departments of the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, the Verity Bargate Award and Soho Theatre. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
The press on Papercut Theatre and Melissa Dunne
“If Papercut Theatre’s aim was a great argument for more gender-neutral writing and casting, and an entertaining hour’s theatre, then they have succeeded.” Broadway World on XY
“XY is an entertaining and interesting collection of new writing, showcasing a range of styles and performed by an exceptionally strong cast.” Broadway Baby on XY
“A clever production … kept the audience involved and interested throughout.” One Stop Arts ★★★★ on XY
“Melissa Dunne's astutely cast production also makes a set of interesting decisions to force us to look at the almost cartoonish way we view violence, particularly towards sex workers…constantly but interestingly challenging.” There Ought to be Clowns on I’m Not Jesus Christ
“I’m Not Jesus Christ packs a powerful punch” A Younger Theatre on I’m Not Jesus Christ
Where does the money go?
All the money raised will go towards covering expenses such as: venue fees, set and costume costs, marketing, and paying our brilliant actors. The play has a cast of 10 characters, which will be played by 9 actors, so you can understand that this will be of some financial constraint for a small theatre company. We are keen to ensure that our actors and designers are paid fairly, which is why we are seeking donations. We also believe in the importance of gender parity and are keen to bring a excellent piece of writing to the London Fringe to support the representation of women in the arts.
Any donation, whether big or small, will help us to make this production have the high standard it deserves: full of quality and ready to captivate the audience at the Finborough Theatre this summer.
If you want to support us further, why not come see the show this summer? Click here to buy your tickets today.