We’re fresh off the (slimy) back of our latest project – our most ambitious to date – a regional tour of Aristophanes’ Frogs to Bath, Stroud, Exeter and Bristol, funded by Arts Council England. So many people were involved in the running of this project and I am pleased to report that both their support, and the incredible dedication of our team, meant the show went off without a hitch at every venue. Not only that, we must be the unrivalled get-out queens of the theatre universe – it took under half an hour to pack all of Charlie’s awesome set into two cars, and off we went!
Aside from the joys of performing, driving, getting-in, getting-out, more driving, lots of coffee, David Bowie CDs, surprise fog on the motorway at 10.30 pm and, of course, green face paint – the most important thing to us every day of the tour was the reaction of our audience. Isn’t it so for any theatre-maker? All in all, ‘surprise’ seems to be the word of the moment. Who’d have thought an Ancient Greek comedy could be so funny, relevant and fresh? People were mostly ‘surprised’ by either our skill as performers, or how much they enjoyed watching us. None more so than the school party from St Katherine’s, Bristol, who pretty much made our year at the Q&A after our Arnos Vale show.
The teachers from St Kaths told us that their pupils study and perform drama as part of their various Arts courses, but that there pertains this idea that the female characters must be ‘upright’ and ‘feminine’ – that they can have no other role than the damsel in distress, the windswept heroine, or the depressed mother. Our Frogs, according to these teachers, completely blew the minds of their students. They were in stitches at five girls clowning about the stage, unafraid to appear ridiculous, grotesque, daubed in paint and pulling stupid faces. Not only was Frogs political in its discourse and subtext, but in its essence as an all-female production as well. This, the teachers told us, is exactly what school children everywhere need to see – they need to realise that this is what women are capable of, and we couldn’t agree more.
In short, we are thrilled at this response. Hecate has always stood for giving women more interesting roles onstage and broadening the minds of our audiences, so to receive that feedback from young people – who will become the next generation – is fantastic. It means that we are making a difference. It makes our work feel really worthwhile.
If you caught a glimpse of our Frogs on tour, get in touch and let us know what you thought! If you’re interested in working with us in the future, or would like to be added to our mailing list, drop us a line: email@example.com.