Preview: In Her Own Words @ Footlights Theatre, Media City

Girls with Guile’s brand new show is a spectacular insight into womanhood. It’s raw and real and it is In Her Own Words. 

The show features nine performers, including two spectacular aerial artists, all equally powerful in their openness and stories. The performance is currently showing at Footlights in Media City, Salford and is running all weekend to celebrate International Women’s Day. 

From abortion and the pill to mental illness, In Her Own Words explores every aspect of the struggle of womanhood.

Creator Leigh Harper decided to create the show as a platform to develop opportunities for women, having found herself questioning why she had so many qualifications and yet could not find herself a job, in the arts, that she wanted.

She also found that there were not many creative roles available for women over the age of 30 and therefore wanted her project to be available for women of all ages. It is a space where everyone is welcome. 

Eloise Bonney, a performer in the show, described how the scenes were inspired by the stories of real women, including the stories of the performers and writers themselves, and how by drawing on these experiences people can feel more comfortable and accepted in themselves. 

Meanwhile, Emma Furnival and Francesca Izzo, both actors in the performance, explained that the whole experience has been “amazing” and has given them the opportunity to share stories that are both personal and deeply emotional. The show allows opens up a conversation often regarded as taboo. 

The show is mixed media, incorporating dance, acting and a little bit of rap to bring together hard hitting topics – as well as having a bit of a laugh at the expense of bras. 

The atmosphere of the auditorium changes as you listen to the pieces. Some of them are hard to hear, introducing themes of rape, post-natal depression, and other real struggles which many women face. However, leaving the space to reflect is not only accepted, it is encouraged.

The blind casting of the show also opens up the possibilities of this genre. The cast agreed that, by employing blind casting it could be more diverse and open. It opened the production up to many whose stories are often not heard, told with real passion. 

The cast and writers all spoke about how inclusivity was key and how they wanted to show to represent everyone and anyone. Girls with Guile is, as Harper affirms, “a platform of solidarity”.

It is a hard-hitting and thought provoking piece of drama. But it is also powerful, intellectual, and the kind of show that makes you want to throw your bra onto the stage in protest. 

The show is currently playing at Footlights in Salford but is hoping to tour the UK, with aspirations to go on Edinburgh Fringe in the summer and become a yearly, International Women’s Day event. 

In Her Own Words, currently showing at Footlights in Salford: Footlights, Kansas Avenue, Salford, M50 2LP. 

Saturday’s performance is BSL interpreted and provides a free crèche.

Tickets available here.

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