A Necessary Woman at Smallhythe Place

Performer Deborah Clair as suffragette Emily Davison in 'A Necessary Woman'

Sunday 2 April 1911. Census Night. The Government continues to ignore the burning question of female suffrage. Women up and down the Country prepare to avoid and evade the census as a protest and challenge to authority. “No Vote, no Census!” is their battle cry.

Two days before, suffragette Emily Davison has concealed herself in a cleaning cupboard, in the crypt beneath the Palace of Westminster. Emily plans a daring and courageous act in Parliament for Monday morning, but with a greater police presence and security tighter than usual, will she achieve her ambition before she is caught and returned to prison?

Clair/Obscur present an imagined re-telling of what happened in the missing 42 hours...

Smallhythe Place celebrates suffrage on stage with a performance of 'A Necessary Woman'
Performers Debroah Clair and Philippa Urquhart in 'A Necessary Woman' at Smallhythe Place
Smallhythe Place celebrates suffrage on stage with a performance of 'A Necessary Woman'

'A Necessary Women' previews at Kino-Teatr in St Leonards on 17 February and tours through to mid-November, with its premiere at Royal Holloway University, the alma mater of Emily Wilding Davison. On 26 March ‘A Necessary Women’ takes the stage in Parliament where the company have been supported by MP Nicky Morgan to perform at The Houses of Parliament. This means that Emily Davison’s speech, in her own words, will be heard in Parliament during the year of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act.

A model stage, as Clair/Obscur prepare for their performance in Parliament
A lego model of The Houses of Parliament
A model stage, as Clair/Obscur prepare for their performance in Parliament

About the performing company

Clair/Obscur is a new theatre collective based in the Weald of Kent. Their focus is to adapt and develop classic stories from authors and famous figures in their region. The name derives from the term Chiaroscuro, a strong juxtaposition of light and shade which results in a stunning visual effect in a work of art. Like the unique and vivid image of a chiaroscuro, each Clair/Obscur performance will be an original event, utilising the features of its immediate surroundings and creating a dynamic and revitalising experience that leaps out to meet its audience.

Clair/Obscur believe that everything on stage should have a purpose. As they seek to pare a story down to its bare essentials, they present narratives that do not necessarily have tidy endings and, as in real life, leave the audience with questions.

Video

A Necessary Woman

Clair/Obscur present 'A Necessary Woman' at Smallhythe Place Barn Theatre on 10 June 2018 in celebration of the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, and part of the National Trust's Women and Power programme.