Local theatre company develop feminist play with award-winning Leeds screenwriter

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Local theatre-makers have teamed up with a Leeds screenwriter to develop a new piece of feminist theatre charting the untold stories of the women who made – or ought to have made – British history.

UNSUNG explores the untold stories of Ada Lovelace, Sophia Jex-Blake, Lilian Bailey and Andrea Dunbar, asking why they, and hundreds like them, have been relegated to the footnotes of history.

The stories of both Lilian and Andrea have a strong connection to Yorkshire, where the show is rooted.

The development of Unsung began in March 2017 at the Holbeck Underground Ballroom in Leeds, supported by Arts Council England.

A group of young, female theatre-makers, collectively disgruntled with the tangible lack of engaging, multi-faceted female roles in conventional scripted theatre, came together to make a new show.

Unsung will undergo further development this autumn at Square Chapel in Halifax, in collaboration with local screenwriter Lisa Holdsworth (Midsomer Murders, Emmerdale), and tour regionally in 2018. On 31st July the company launched a crowdfunding campaign in aid of supporting their progress.

It is a small show with big aims, which places value on female and Northern voices alike. The company began with two key objectives: to devise something that interrogated in a lively and modern way the underrepresentation of women in history, the theatre, and society at large, and to develop four complex protagonists for the ensemble to get their teeth into.

By creating Unsung, the ensemble will question why figures like these are so absent from what Britain, as a nation, is taught of its history. The company hopes to elevate the examination of this issue to a national level, and take meaningful steps towards altering the narrow perspectives that govern the way women are regarded today.