** Due to Chapter’s announcement that it will close its doors until 19 April in line with government and medical advice, we are incredibly sad to say that Blue Stockings will not go ahead this week. We hope to re-schedule the performance later in the year. **
Everyman Theatre will stage Blue Stockings, the critically acclaimed first play by writer/director Jessica Swale on Chapter’s main stage from Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 March 2020.
Tess, Carolyn, Maeve and Celia arrive to study at Girton College, Cambridge in 1896. Though just as smart as their male counterparts, they have not had formal education and are treated as unladylike and unnatural for choosing education over a “normal” life for a woman of the time. In the play, as in real-life, these pioneering women are referred to pejoratively as “Blue Stockings”.
As they go about their studies and prove themselves to be more than worthy of their awards, the college grants a vote of the Cambridge University alumni on whether or not women should be able to receive their degrees. Whilst this story of historical importance unfolds, the students struggle with their still relatable lives, and the unenviable choices the young women are faced with between their families, future and careers they might not even be permitted to have.
Blue Stockings has received much critical acclaim since its debut in the Globe Theatre in 2013 and has further contributed to the awareness of women’s fight for equality in education in Victorian Britain as well as the struggle for universal suffrage. As certain colleges withheld degrees from women well into the twentieth century, and their access to education across the globe today is still often seen as less important, the issues explored in the play are still relevant.
A story fit for the modern age asks the question, if you had to choose love or knowledge, what would you do?