The inspiration behind my 2017 show is women in Science. I should say I am not a scientist myself but I love Science as a whole and I find it fascinating. I guess you could say that I am just a woman who wants to get more out of her Physics GCSE. When I was at school I actually felt discouraged from the sciences and part of that was not learning about any female scientists within the curriculum. During my research for my new show I read the current GSCE Science curriculum (for a bit of light reading), and found that there is only one woman mentioned by name. Can you guess who it is? No, not Marie Curie! It’s Rosalind Franklin who helped discover DNA. Marie Curie is who people usually assume it is going to be, Curie discovered the elements Polonium (element 84) and Radium (element 88) in the 1900’s. Bruce Willis was famously searching for the fifth element wasn’t he? Turns out it’s not a semi-naked girl with orange hair! It’s Boron. Yep, Boron is the 5th element in the periodic table.
My 2016 show was an exploration of space and began as a three-step plan to have a sexually charged coffee with Professor Brian Cox. I was chasing Brian, it was like a more humane and middle class version of jumping on a horse and chasing a fox; it was cox-hunting. During the course of last year’s show I actually discovered all these amazing women who have been to space and I decided I should be trying to impress them, instead of Brian. It was a show about looking at the world we are exposed to and realising that up until that moment I hadn’t really been exposed to any female scientists. Until last year my impressions of science and space had been dominated by Cox, Brian and that’s why I felt drawn to him (well that and his excellently conditioned hair). My new show in 2017 is to readdress the balance of doing a whole show about a fella last year, so I set myself a challenge to write a show about the lost women of science.
The film Hidden Figures was released whilst I was working on the new show and was also a huge inspiration. Hidden Figures is a fantastic film and true story about three African-American women at NASA in 1950’s and the struggles they faced. I would recommend going to see it with any young girls or women in your family (you can also some bring men if you like). What Hidden Figures does perfectly, is letting these women’s brilliance shine through as well as being entertaining and funny. The film also highlights shocking moments from the women’s lives, such as Katherine Johnson having to travel across the whole NASA compound every time she needed the toilet, due to segregation. The film depicts the journeys of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson who are all well worth a google. Mary Jackson was actually on my initial list of women to explore in my show, however I think she might have got a little more attention from the film than she would have in my month long run in Edinburgh! I am so glad these women have been brought into the public conscious and I am trying to do my bit with my show – although I can’t promise an all star cast I can promise that there will be puns, impressions and even poetry! I discovered so many amazing women in my research but a six-hour show is not so welcome at the Edinburgh Fringe, so I had to decide on just three women. In the end I chose the three women I felt an affinity with on reading about them. I also seem to have chosen three women I look a little bit like, just in case anyone does a biopic of their lives – it’s all about creating your own work when you are self-employed!
My three chosen women are inventive, talented, bold and devastatingly have been lost from the history books! I hope that my show raises awareness of these women and celebrates them, but who are they? Well, you’ll have to come along to find out!
1 Woman, a High-Flyer and a Flat Bottom
3.30pm, 2nd-28th August (not 15th), Pleasance Courtyard