Fat Rascal Theatre are an award-winning company run by women who aim to challenge the constraints of being a female within the arts industry, and discuss social and political issues through an accessible and appealing format. They're also a very funny, creative group of people who produce and perform entertaining theatre, which they hope leave audiences feeling ready to take on the world!

Beauty and the Beast by Fat Rascal Theatre Company

Beauty and the Beast by Fat Rascal Theatre Company

In just a few years Fat Rascal Theatre are already leading the way in feminist theatre, following successful productions like 'Buzz: A New Musical', which recounted the history of the vibrator and won the company the 2017 Brighton Fringe Otherplace/Balkan Award and the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Eddies Award.

Now, as 2017 closes, the company bring us the world premiere of their gender-swapped 'Beauty & The Beast (A Musical Parody)' currently running at The Kings Head Theatre, which has already earned an Offie award nomination and multiple 5 star reviews. 

Since as long as theatre has existed, it has been dominated by male voices, whether writers, producers, performers or Artistic Directors. In come Fat Rascal Theatre, who are working hard to change that, and here's why....

Reflect Reality

Theatre is about reflecting real life. Holding a mirror up to nature. Both sexes should be equally represented for this to be accurate. The world would be a lot more fun if everybody got a chance to tell their stories! We must leave more plays for future generations which reflect the thoughts, feelings and ambitions of women today in the way that we have a wealth of classical male roles.

Money Makers

Theatre’s might make more money. The majority of UK theatre audiences are female (68% according to a MORI/Society of London Theatre report); surely they would be more inclined to see work which represents them?

Create New Classics for women!

Commissioning female playwrights to write more parts for women could inspire a whole collection of new classics. We have wonderful female actresses, lets write them epic parts to showcase their immense talent. Lets write for Meryl Streep, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench. Lets create iconic career defining roles for the stage. Lets create a female Hamlet, a female Othello, a female Macbeth. Women write for women; just 37% of parts written by men are played by women - 62% of parts written by women are played by women. When typically more female than male actors are in the profession, we’re cutting out half of the talent pool.

Enough with the sexism

A lot of sexism comes from lack of empathy and understanding. We need to tell women’s stories to break those boundaries. With so many plays and musicals being written and/or directed by men, female characters are always seen through the male perspective. Female characters often lack depth - they play the wife of, the girlfriend of, the mother of, the sister of some great male role. Women need to be given the chance to write female parts, and give a new perspective on what women can be.

Stamp out Sexual Harassment

We have as big a problem with sexual harassment in the theatre world as we do in Hollywood. It’s time for equal representation in roles of power to end the patriarchal power abusers which seem to fill the top spots.

More women want to do theatre than men!

More women want to do theatre than men! Look at applications for drama schools, there are more women battling for fewer places. 70% of those studying drama in further and higher education are female. Match this alongside the 62% of all stage actors being male and the 90% male Olivier award winners and you see we clearly have a problem.

Equality

We’re not seeing equality on our stages, we’re not seeing equality backstage either, and having more women in these roles to encourage this equality will give young girls the knowledge and the encouragement that they can do it too. We can’t count the amount of times we were told that we ‘couldn’t’ or that we should ‘aim lower’. But this advice wasn’t given to our male counterparts. They were told they could be anything, do anything. With so few female role models to prove these people wrong, who knows what amazing talent we might not ever get to see because these girls were told they ‘can’t’?

Maternal support

Having more women in higher arts roles would emphasise the need for better maternal support within theatre. A career in the arts does not lend itself to motherhood, which plays a big part in why we have less women in top roles within theatre. We all know how demanding a career in theatre can be, its not a 9-5 job. It’s inconsistent. It can be full throttle one second and quiet the next. We need to make theatre work accessible for mothers. The revolution cannot happen without better child care.

Create contemporary work by women for women

Shakespeare remains a core element of our acting training at drama schools. Of Shakespeare’s 981 characters, 826 are male and 155 female. We women get less practice, less training than the men because we’re waiting to have a go. Men become used to taking the spotlight whilst women become used to waiting at the side or having to ‘sit this one out’. With this ingrained into our basic training from school it sets the tone of how it’s going to work throughout our careers. We need to create contemporary work by women for women which swings the balance. Give the boys a turn on the bench.

Artistic Direction from Women

The Royal Court has a majority female board and a female Artistic Director, and has by far the best track record of programming women’s work; ten out of seventeen plays they’ve programmed in 2017 have been by women. Compare that to The National or The Old Vic, both headed up by men; 7 out of 21 shows at the National this year were written by women, and only 3 out of those 7 were programmed into their two main stages. At The Old Vic it gets worse, with ZERO shows written by women in 2017 - in fact, they’ve only programmed 3 shows by women in the past 13 years (and one of those was adapted by a man). In 2015, the National commissioned a show about feminism (Blurred Lines) - then got a man to write it. This pattern is visible across our industry. It’s not always true that female leaders will programme more women’s work (the Donmar Warehouse’s track record proves that this is wishful thinking), but female artistic directors have staged many more plays by women than their male counterparts (see The Guardian, http://bit.ly/2AzBDTP).

So what can we do about it?

It’s time that we look patriarchy in the eye and stop letting it make us see other women as competition, as untrustworthy, as bitches who are trying to steal your job and stab you in the back. It’s time for the rise of groups of women creating together and supporting one another.

“I won’t fight other women for one of the limited seats at the table. We’ll march side by side and demand a bigger table.” - Glennon Doyle Melton

'Beauty and The Beast (A Musical Parody)' by Fat Rascal Theatre runs at The Kings Head Theatre, London until the 6th January.

For tickets: https://kingsheadtheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873581486/events/128329693

For more information on Fat Rascal Theatre visit https://www.fatrascaltheatre.com/

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