Minotaur Theatre Company’s ‘Femfest’ is running from March 4th to March 10th all over the UEA Campus. A feminist festival that is all about women and theatre, ‘Femfest’ has such a variety of events that there will be something for everybody – there will be a dance class, a zine workshop, and lots of theatre performances. All of the events are open to everybody, regardless of gender. The money raised from events throughout the week will be donated to the charity BPAS, who are the leading provider of abortion services in the UK and have a clinic here in Norwich. They offer pregnancy and abortion advice and resources to all and support the choices of those who seek out their assistance.
I got the opportunity to speak to Ellie Martland and Molly Thomson, who have written plays that will be performed together in a double bill at multiple points throughout the week. Molly’s play ‘Choice’ is debuting at ‘Femfest’. It covers topics such as consent, infertility, marriage and women’s choices. Molly shared that she was inspired by her interest in the stigma that currently surrounds the topics of abortion and infidelity, themes that she believes are incredibly important. “I didn’t want my characters to be perfect. They are human and they are flawed and imperfect. They have beautiful traits and they have deep sadnesses that they internalise,” explained Molly, before telling me that the aspect of her play that she is most proud of is her cast and their emotional performances.
Ellie’s play ‘Tokophobia’ stems from similar passions. It follows a 20-year-old woman who is convinced that she can’t have children, and also explores the issues that come with family, relationships, and pregnancy. When I asked Ellie what inspired her to write ‘Tokophobia’, she shared that she was inspired by the wonderful work that other Minotaur writers have produced. She followed the method of ‘write what you know’, drawing on her own experiences and relationships to help transfer female experiences onto the stage. I posed the same question about pride to Ellie that I did to Molly, and she said that she’s very grateful for the team working on her play, particularly director Isabel Morgan.
The double bill In the Family Way will be performed on March 5 at 8pm and March 6 at 2pm at the UEA Drama Studio Rehearsal Room.