Once upon a time, a free-spirited woman in 19th century France decided to adopt a male pen name and dress as a man to challenge the rigid and unjust gender roles of her time. She wrote a ground-breaking play ‘Gabriel’ about a young aristocrat who finds out that he was raised a male after being born a female, so that he could inherit the family title and estate. “Well behaved women seldom make history”… but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to George Sand.
Unfortunately, the challenges that Sand faced two centuries ago as a woman, an artist, a divorcee and a queer person are still relevant today in a society that keeps assigning roles, expectations and opportunities based on individuals checking certain boxes of pre-determined criteria. Her story, struggles and artistic contribution deserve to be known by modern audiences. As she did with ‘Gabriel’, we believe rigid norms can be challenged through an ambitious piece of art and that’s what we want to do with this play.
After an extensive phase of research in 2021, Léa (the playwright) is currently writing the first draft of what will become a full-length play, to be produced in 2022/23. Emeline, the producer, has entered a fundraising phase to support Léa’s work, and that’s why you are on this page (hello !).
We are thrilled to have been awarded a space at the New Diorama Theatre Broadgate in London in January 2022. During a week, we will get together with a director, two actors and two panels of potential audience members to discuss the play, its themes, structure and the best storytelling and staging techniques to make this play the best theatrical experience possible. That’s what we call an R&D in theatre land and we can’t wait!
Why is an R&D important
Any industry needs time and money to develop ideas. Theatre and plays have the capacity to engage, transport but also challenge and affect audiences through stories. We are not producing manufactured goods but helping make sense of shared experience and creating an invaluable connection with what it means to be human.
In order for a play to do so, a theatre company needs time to unlock creativity and explore what by nature belongs to the intangible. Actors can facilitate this process with skills and methodologies honed through guidance, constant training and practice. That is what an R&D is about and it is not optional. It is really the cornerstone of making great theatre.
As the creative industries can less and less rely on public funding and because the arts is considered a passion, it has become common practice for skilled professionals to engage in a creative project unpaid. This is both detrimental to them and to the theatre industry as a whole.
Theatre needs investors to allow creative endeavours the space and resources necessary to explore storytelling and for their practitioners to make a living out of it.
This is what this crowdfunding is all about. Help us properly pay people for their creativity, while supporting a kick-a** female-led production!
How is the money going to be used
80,6% of the money raised will be used to pay the 5 main practitioners (playwright, director/dramaturg, two actors, producer) a fair salary aligned with industry standards.
15,6% of the money raised will be used to reimburse travel and lunch expenses to the creatives involved and members of our panel.
The rest will be used for stationary and printing expenses. We have also accounted for the crowdfunding platform's fees. Details of our budget can be found below.
Who we are
We are two French-born, London-based theatre lovers, determined to make this wonderful project happen!
Léa des Garets - Playwright/Actor - http://lea-des-garets.com/
Léa is a French actress working between France and the UK. She has won a Best Actress award for her interpretation of the title role in the film ‘Gisette’. Her other screen work includes the leading roles of Déjà in ‘MITA’ (dir. Nina Kramer) and of Kia in ‘Kia & Saffron’ (dir. Vincent Lin). She has co-founded the international ensemble Night Train Theatre Company. They toured their Arts Council-funded show ‘Maklena’ in the UK and took it to Ukraine in 2019. Her other theatre credits include the leading roles of Katherine in ‘Henry V’ (Cambridge Arts Theatre) and Isabelle Azaire in ‘Birdsong’ (ADC Theatre), as well as the part of Lady Angela in ‘Patience’ (Minack Theatre).
Emeline Touzet - Producer - https://lynproductions.co.uk/
Emeline is a French-born and London-based independent theatre producer. She is currently working with several emerging playwrights and directors through her company Lyn Productions. She is particularly interested in new writing, supporting work focusing on female voices and political theatre. Her most recent credits include working with Theatre Lab Company on their latest play ‘Emmeline’ (Cockpit Theatre, Nov 2021) as Assistant Producer. Before her career in theatre, she worked in public affairs in Paris for several years, and ran her own online business.