After a successful week at the Rondo Theatre in Bath, Old Bag Theatre Company announce the next date for their tour of the brilliantly poignant Airswimming by Charlotte Jones.
Performing at the Shoebox Theatre on Saturday 11th March for one night only, Airswimming, directed by Andy Cork and Co-Directed by Emma Firman, is a darkly funny story of two women and how they support each other through fifty years of incarceration in an institution.
“If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs…” In the early 20th century it was not unknown for women who didn’t fit in or who were different to be declared ‘moral imbeciles’ and shut in institutions, away from the rest of the world to spare their families the disgrace of their differences.
Actor and playwright Charlotte Jones, whose play Humble Boy opened at the Royal National Theatre in 2001 and who created and co-wrote the ITV series The Halcyon, wrote Airswimming in 1997 after being inspired by a newspaper article of two such women, the real-life Miss Kitson and Miss Baker.
But how do you survive 50 years in St Dymphna’s Hospital for the Criminally Insane? How do you cope with the outside world when you are ‘released’, a world you no longer recognise? Dora and Persephone cling to each other, and take it in turns to support one another, through the years with humour, alter egos and a Doris Day wig.
This beautifully written play reminds us of the need to show compassion and understanding about the plight of our fellow human beings. Above all the play is entertaining, funny, surprising and moving.
Since kicking off in February, the show has been very well received by audiences and reviewers alike at the Rondo Theatre in Bath, and John Christopher Wood for Theatre Bath has said: “The cast are superb, all of them, running the whole gamut of the emotional and personality changes up and down the years with consummate skill.”
Claire Hayes for The Reviews Hub adds: “Directors Andy Cork and Emma Firman handle the subject matter and Jones’ sensitive writing with insight and compassion.”
Director Andy Cork, brings a unique insight to the process. Andy trained as a professional actor and stage manager but now works in the mental health sector. Andy says: “I have been fortunate, if that is the right way of describing it, of working with women who have been through the experience of Dora and Persephone and I hope that I can bring my knowledge and understanding to the play as a result, and at the same time honour the experience of these women.”
Emma Firman, Co-director, brought the play to the attention of the Old Bags last year after hearing a version of it on Radio 4. Co-founders Charlotte Howard and Julie Butterworth immediately felt that it tied in perfectly with the aims of the Old Bags. Julie said: “As Old Bags we aim to offer a platform for older women to develop confidence and self-worth and whilst most of us have not had to face the kinds of problems the characters in this piece have, we all know the fears and issues that often accompanies getting older in a society that favours the young.”
Tickets are £10 and are available online from http://www.oldbagtheatrecompany.co.uk/box-office/. Pre-booking is essential.