Bristol Old Vic responds to audience demand with women-only performance of Medea


Bristol Old Vic has announced it will present a performance of its politically charged Medea to an exclusively female audience on Friday 26 May. Responding directly to the reaction from audiences through the preview period and press night, this unique evening will also include a panel discussion looking at the issues raised; of what it is to be a woman and a mother today, resisting the loss of identity, and the struggles some women undertake to find retribution in a system that is often unfair.

The evening will be in partnership with Bristol charity Bristol Women’s Voice who will also host the panel event directly after the show. Panellists, to be announced later, will include some of the leading female thinkers in arts and politics in Bristol.

Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice, Penny Gane said: "There is still a real need for spaces where women are able to come together to share and support one another, especially regarding the kinds of sensitive subjects that are addressed in a performance like Medea. It is very empowering to have this rare opportunity for a woman-only audience to look at the hidden experiences of women such as Medea/Maddy, who are mothers and homemakers and whose stories are so often unheard. This is why it is so important that Bristol Old Vic has agreed to offer this unique evening to the women of Bristol and we are very excited to be a part of this.”

Executive Producer of Bristol Old Vic, Chloe Elwood said: “When we spoke to Bristol Women’s Voice at the Medea press night, they talked to us about the relevance of the play and the value there would be on having one night held exclusively for an audience of women. This supported many of the comments we’d already had from audiences during the previews. It felt important enough to take a leap of faith and provide a place where issues of justice, social balance and voice are shared. Bristol Old Vic created Medea not as a historic Greek tragedy, but as a comment on the world we live in today. Theatre is not merely a place to be entertained with powerful stories. When it gets things right, it is also a place to encourage debate and even instigate change.”

Bristol Old Vic’s Artistic Director Tom Morris said: “We are known for the experiments we take in collaboration with our artists but in the end all theatre is about the imaginative response of the audience who experience it. So this week we are experimenting in collaboration with audiences who have requested the opportunity to experience this show in an all-female environment. We look forward with excitement to what those audiences and the artists who will perform to them discover on that night.”

Bristol Old Vic is committed to being a theatre which welcomes everyone, male or female, but sometimes we also need to recognise the needs and vulnerabilities of groups affected by the stories we share. We hope to welcome all of Bristol to this production and, for those women who value the unique experience of being the only voices in the room, we hope you will join Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Women’s Voice on Friday 26 May.

Medea runs at Bristol Old Vic until Sat 27 May.