A true tale of Suffragettes defending themselves with Jiu Jitsu. A new theatre show inspiring young people to see they can change the world.

by Esther Ferry-Kennington in Rossendale, Lancashire, England

We did it
On 27th March 2018 we successfully raised £1,845 with 51 supporters in 49 days

From an Indian princess in Hampton Court to young workers in a Yorkshire mill, the Suffrage movement divided the British nation. Suffragettes suffered police brutality, force feeding and repeated arrest. It was time for them to learn to defend themselves. Suffrajitsu is the true story of a diverse set of suffragettes who were trained in Jiu Jitsu by Edith Garrud, a small, slight woman from Lancashire. Jiu Jitsu is a defensive martial art that uses the strength of the attacker against them - perfect for slight women against taller, stronger men. Women were trained to defend themselves and others and formed an elite group – 'The Bodyguard' to protect the formidable Pankhursts. 

This video is a brilliant example of how Jujitsu was used.

Our show will be created using unique puppetry, crafted storytelling and strong imagery. It will tour schools and theatres in autumn 2018 and beyond and will be created with input from local schools and community groups.

The suffragettes used much more than the famous violent methods. They were often witty, creative and determined.  They attempted to enter the houses of parliament via the postal service, by disguise and by airship. They leafleted London from a hot air balloon. They pilgrimaged on foot to the capital from every corner of the country culminating in a mass demonstration of thousands in Hyde Park. 

This show will be a co-production between two age-old puppetry companies; Horse + Bamboo Theatre in Rossendale and Little Angel Theatre in Islington. Horse + Bamboo have been making visual theatre since 1978. 2018, our 40th year, is the same year as the centenary of the Representation of the People Act which gave the first group of women the vote. Little Angel celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2011. It continues to command international respect for the artistic quality of its productions, and is dearly loved by children and adults alike.

In 2018 we have to think differently about fundraising for theatre development. We have Arts Council funding to cover the additional costs needed to create the show, but we must also ask for support from you. We are a registered charity and as such we are overseen by the Charities Commission.

One of our rewards is a choice of exclusive signed print. The two images are below have been created specifically for the show by Gretchen Maynard-Hahn, our Visual Director and puppet-maker.

It is vital that we tell the story of these strong women, to show how each person's different driving force – be it stamina like Milicent Garrett-Fawcett, passion like the Pankhursts or creativity like The Women's Freedom League and so many of the lesser known heroines – that every one of us has something to offer that can change the world for the better. We will tell this story with the feisty flare it deserves, with superhero slow mo, montages fit for Rocky, a plethera of 'bop's, 'biff's and 'kapow's and a knowledge that every young audience member can be the next hero of our time. 

 Suffrajitsu will celebrate this ingenious, creative and diverse movement.




Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

Exclusive blog and music content

Throughout the production between now and September you will receive at least two exclusive blog letters per month telling you of the development aspects of the show, photos of puppets as they are made, interviews with the creative team and cast and at least one exclusive music track from the score of the show.

£30 or more

23 of 100 claimed

Exclusive print signed by the artist

The image seen here on the crowdfunder has been developed specifically for the show by artist Gretchen Maynard-Hahn who is Visual Director and puppet-maker for the show. This reward will also include all exclusive blog and music content offered in the previous reward level. You will receive you print in April but blog content will continue through to September.

£50 or more

3 of 70 claimed

Meet the creative team at an exclusive show

There will be an exclusive showing of Suffrajitsu at The Boo, Rossendale in Oct2018 (Date to be confirmed in Apr '18). You will meet the cast, writer, directors and makers of the show. You can ask questions about creative choices and see what further plans for the show. This reward will also include all exclusive blog and music content and an exclusive print offered in the previous reward level. This reward also includes exclusive blog content.

£50 or more

3 of 50 claimed

Remember an important person in your life

Is there a person in your life that deserves some recognition? We know you don't need to be a famous suffragette to be a heroine. With this reward we will put your nominated person's name in our programme and on the webpage of the show. Will also send you a signed copy of the programme. This reward will also receive exclusive blog and music content and an exclusive print as per previous rewards.

£200 or more

1 of 20 claimed

All rewards plus signed copy of the script

For £200 we will offer you all of the rewards listed previously Exclusive blog and music content Print signed by the artist A memorable person's name in the programme and on the website Tickets to an exclusive showing of Suffrajitsu at The Boo where you will meet the cast and Directors. PLUS Script signed by the writer, creative team and cast.


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