Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-fwgfc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-11T19:21:35.743Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

2 - The ‘Woman Writer’

Elaine Aston
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Get access

Summary

In 1977 Ann McFerran conducted an interview for Time Out with nine British women playwrights, and headed the commentaries with the statement ‘the male-dominated theatre is giving way (somewhat)’.1 In retrospect, our ‘male-dominated theatre’ hardly seems to have given way at all, but those women in touch with the Second Women's Liberation Movement in the 1970s were, in the climate of feminism, able to view the possibility of a more equitable future with a degree of optimism. Gillian Hanna, a founding company member of Monstrous Regiment, with whom Churchill worked on Vinegar Tom (1976) and the Floorshoiv cabaret (1977), recollects:

Feminism was leaping in our heads…To be a woman in 1975 and not to have felt the excitement of things starting to change, possibilities in the air, would have meant that you were only half alive…

… we wanted to change the world. At the time, this didn't seem like such an outrageous project. All around us, women in every area of the world we knew were doing the same thing. It seemed as natural as breathing.

But much more exciting than breathing. Exhilarating. The sense of being in the right place at the right time, in step with a great movement in history, part of history, making history ourselves. We were part of a huge wave of women and we were going to remake everything. It gradually dawned on us that we didn't have to go out and join any movement. We were already in it. We were the Movement.

If change was not immediate, then feminism at least enabled women to express their discontents, or, as Churchill argued in McFerran's interview, ‘one of the things the Women's Movement has done is to show the way the traps work’. The ‘traps’ specific to theatre, which the women playwrights discussed in McFerran's interview, included male bias of their profession, the paucity of roles for women, the ways in which their voices had not been heard in the theatre, and the difficulties of combining a playwriting career with motherhood.

When questioned about her writing and feminism, Churchill observed:

For years and years I thought of myself as a writer before I thought of myself as a woman, but recently I've found that I would say I was a feminist writer as opposed to other people saying I was.

Type
Chapter
Information
Caryl Churchill
, pp. 17 - 45
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Print publication year: 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×