“At the University of Hull, you are invited to explore and experience as much as possible”
The Roaring Girls is the fierce, feminist, fun theatre company filled with Hull Alumni who have enjoyed recent success at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Their show, Beach Body Ready, has wowed audiences and critics and lead to two sell out shows here at the University of Hull next week (Thursday 19th & Friday 20th September).
The company was founded in 2014 when Co-artistic directors Lizi Perry & Rachael Abbey were studying their MA in Theatre Making at the University of Hull. “With their specialisms in gender, comedy, improvisation and feminism, they wanted to form a company that created honest, authentic work that played between the lines of theatre and conversation.” The company has now grown to a core team of five awesome women, all with the same mission, and all University of Hull alumni.
Beach Body Ready is a semi-improvised feel good show aiming to celebrate our bodies as they are despite the shame that is often imposed on us from the media. As with all their productions, they aim to create thought provoking theatre that’s joyful; delving into complex topics with a cheery tone. Following its almost month long run during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Beach Body Ready received positive reviews from the Guardian, the Stage, the List and, Lenny Henry himself and more. The show was praised for being able to promote body acceptance in a charming way.
We asked The Roaring Girls how the university had helped the company and show develop:
“At the University of Hull, you are invited to explore and experience as much as possible. In the Drama Department, this means you get a chance to try everything from stage management, to lighting, acting and costume, so you really have an opportunity to trial everything that the industry has to offer. As a city, Hull is brimming with fantastic creatives and organisations making really powerful, nationally acclaimed work. There is a smashing mix of established and emerging theatre companies such as Middle Child, Silent Uproar, Bellow, The Herd, Just Club, Brick by Brick, Thursday’s Children and SHE, amongst others that are always up for a coffee/pint and a chat about the working in the industry – so take advantage!
“As a company, we have been supported by the university in form of rehearsal space and mentorship, both of which have been invaluable. In 2017, we were commissioned by Hull UK City of Culture 2017 to create a piece in collaboration with the university, which led to Weathered Estates, premiering at the Donald Roy Theatre as part of the city of culture celebrations. This was directed by University of Hull lecturer Amy Skinner and students designed the lighting, costumes and set, as well as performing in the show.
“With Beach Body Ready, we have been fortunate to have some fantastic University of Hull students in the room with us, who reached out to gain some experience. Third year student Luke Dankoff became our Assistant Stage Manager at Hull Truck Theatre, and second year student Fiona Wright has sat in many of our rehearsals, to get a flavour of directing a professional show. They were as grateful for the experience as we were, as we love meeting new people and collaborating creatively with others, regardless of what stage they are in, in their career.”
Beach body ready has impacted its audiences by making individuals feel more confident with their bodies. As they explain:
“Over the course of making Beach Body Ready, we’ve had women private message us on Instagram with bikini photos of themselves, saying ‘Hello. My name is ____ and this is my body.’ Those are often the ones that touch us the most – they may not feel confident with sharing their body with the world, but they’re confident at sharing their body with us, and that’s such a big step forward. “
The show is going on tour in Spring/Summer 2020 and The Roaring Girls are researching and developing a new show towards the end of the year.
Interview by Charlotte Mealings