Interview: Stephanie Martin, Bridle

Now in its third year, new writing showcase #Festival47 kicks off next week at the King’s Head Theatre. Among 19 shows featured in the programme is Bridle from Clamour Theatre, a contemporary satire on female sexuality and the attempts to control it, written by Stephanie Martin.

Bridle is about challenging and rewriting narratives and perspectives on female sexuality and behaviour,” explains Stephanie, who also performs in the show. “It’s about desire, heartbreak, shame, fathers, violence, pornography, millennial culture. It’s about how female sexuality and behaviour are subtly policed and judged.”

Bridle marks Stephanie’s debut as a writer: “I wrote it last May, inspired by the disparity between the people I know in real life and the tropes of behaviour that are defined as ‘good’ or ‘proper’,” she says. “We shared the show for the first time, as a full length piece, at the brilliant Camden People’s Theatre hotbed Festival of Sex in April. Our first sharing saw me performing the piece with other actors, Elissa Churchill and Charlotte Clitherow, and so #Festival47 will be the first time I’ve ever performed it solo – I’ll be heartbroken/lonely and bored without the other two.

“As Bridle is the first thing I’ve ever written, I’m also extremely grateful to EJ and Pip at Pluck Productions, Georgie and Will at Flux Theatre and the Emerge Night, as well as Nastazja Somers and her HerStory baby, for first programming excerpts of Bridle as part of their respective new writing nights in November and December 2016. These three companies are a great example of London’s new writing scene, giving opportunities, support and confidence to new writers and makers.”

Bridle may be about women, but that doesn’t mean it’s only a show for women. “Absolutely not, it’s a show for all,” says Stephanie. “I personally believe we all exist as a gorgeous mismatch of the male and the female, so come as you are and enjoy. Some of the ‘male’ audiences of the past performances seemed a little disconnected or in some way to blame for some of Bridle, which I didn’t predict or imagine at all.

“I want us to all remove shame from our lives, to feel comforted that lots of us go through the same things, to feel okay about being weird and vulnerable. And to laugh at me and laugh at all of us.”

Clamour Theatre describe themselves as “raw, excited and all about today”. Stephanie explains, “We’ve formed to explore new perspectives, new characters, new stories in raw, explosive and enjoyable ways. We love humour, we love energy and we like looking at new stories and/or re-examining the status quo.”

Stephanie will be performing the show at the King’s Head on 11th, 12th and 16th July at 9.30pm. “It’s an honour to be programmed as part of the festival and defined as part of the ‘future of the theatre’, especially by a theatre with a reputation like the King’s Head,” she says. “The rest of the festival line-up looks fab too and we’re looking forward to seeing the other companies. I’ve seen such a huge variety of fab, quality work at King’s Head over the last 4 or 5 years so looking forward to being on that stage, too.”

Book now for Bridle at the King’s Head Theatre, 10th-16th July.

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