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Female Transport by Steve Gooch poster

Plays by Theme:

Artists & Auteurs
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People's History
Women in History
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Women's Worlds - Plays about Women in History

British Beauty
Cocky's Girls
Female Transport
Massa
The Women Pirates
Your Loving

British Beauty (5f, 4m)

Sophie, a wild country girl grows up in deepest Sussex as the daughter of a gamekeeper, who is head of the household of Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, women's rights campaigner and, with Bessie Parkes, editor of The Englishwoman's Journal. Barbara is a friend of Preraphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti who, along with other Victorian luminaries like George Eliot and Friend, loves to visit her country home in Sussex. It just so happens that on a visit Rossetti one day decides to draw the wild Sophie ... Click here for script excerpt.

Cocky's Girls (5f, 2m)

With a powerful but elderly mother, his shrewd and industrious wife Alma, his glamorous production secretary Joan, and a talented daughter - not to mention Grace Kelly and those other famous blondes - is it any wonder Alfred Hitchcock made those films the way he did? Click here for script excerpt.

Female Transport by Steve Gooch scene
Still from American Conservatory Theatre production of Female Transport

Female Transport (6f, 4m)
also available as a screenplay

Herded into their cell aboard the convict ship, the six women convicts have little idea of the harrowing six-month journey that lies in wait for them. They are bullied from the start by their brutal jailer Sarge, who quickly recruits the soft-hearted Winnie as the cell's trustee or 'Matron'. Sarge also exploits his positon by coming on to Charlotte, a brash pickpocket, whose best friend Sarah, another pickpocket, is prone to sea-sickness but manages to find some solace with innocent cabin-boy Tommy; while political agitator Nance is stuffed into a barrel, beaten and finally flogged as a punishment for repeated disobedience.

Meanwhile the older Madge's motives in cultivating the affections of hapless innocent Pitty are the subject of much suspicion, and up on deck the Surgeon is having a tough time with the Captain insisting on hygienic and human conditions for their increasingly restless cargo... Click here for script excerpt.

Massa (7f, 2m)

Arthur Munby worked for the Victorian Church Commission, but in his summer holidays he became a proto-sociologist, scouring England for examples of women working in hard, physical labour, the record of which is in his diaries and extraordinary photographs, particularly of the surface coalpit 'lasses' of Northern England.
The strangenes of his hobby was compounded however by his 14-year clandestine affair with maid-of-all-work Hannah Cullwick, whom he eventually married. An unlikely social pairing, their relationship was modern for its time, and they were forced to separate but saw each other regularly into old age. Click here for script excerpt.

The Women Pirates by Steve Gooch

The Women Pirates (16m, 6f)
also available as a screenplay 'Like a Man'

A play about the notorious women pirates of the Caribbean Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Beginning with Mary being passed off as her brother to get hold of his inheritance, while Ann takes after her fiery and adulterous Irish father, we follow the lives of the two women over 20 years. Mary joins the army and distinguishes herself in battle. Ann learns fighting from a red Indian and runs away with a smuggler, until the pair end up on Jack Rackham's pirate ship, where women are by tradition not allowed. Told in a fast-moving succession of short scenes with songs. Click here for script excerpt.

Your Loving (3m, 2f)

When the famous anarchist agitator Emma Goldman, hounded by the police and looking for a friendly meeting-hall in Chicago, walks into Ben Reitman's office, she doesn't count on falling passionately in love. As for Ben, the self-styled 'King of the Hoboes' doesn't count on his unreliable movements being viewed with suspicion by Emma's political cronies. Communicating at first through letters, Ben persuades the charismatic speaker to take him on as her business manager and minder. But then money starts to go missing... Click here for script excerpt.

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