Clapham Fringe: Vinegar Tom (by Caryl Churchill)

The Bread & Roses Theatre

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Saturday 22 October 2016
15:00 - 16:30
£10 - £13
Theatre/Arts, Festival

“ELLEN: Not for me to say one's a witch or not a witch. I give you the glass and you see in it what you see in it.”

What is a witch? A woman who is just a bit too attractive? A bit too ugly? A whore, a slut, a bitch? A bit too handy with sex, spells and magic? How do women and society position themselves regarding women’s sexual freedom? How do misogyny and misery connect to each other? How do we women relate to our own bodies and the effects of age, illness and gravity?

Set in the English 17th Century, during the witch hunting period, Vinegar Tom is a strong piece of theatre that aims to condemn and show the marginalization of women who do not fit into the narrow categories of our patriarchal society, and how easily they can be labeled as "witches".

Caryl Churchill's bold language comes straight out of the 70s into our time, showing how contemporary and strong these topics can still be. From the effect and prejudice about women's age, to the language and behavioral harassment, Vinegar Tom looks at the core of discrimination through a wide spectrum of lens.

The first draft was written in a few days and then passed it off to the feminist theatre company 'Monstrous Regiment' who took it and played with it and wrote music to the poems. It was a truly collaborative process and the first time Caryl Churchill worked in such a way.

Our production aims to explore and evoke the text and its content following the untraditional structure of the text. The action runs continually, only interrupted by the use of poems sung by the actors in modern dress. Burning Theatre’s style is reflected in the minimal use of set and technical effects, highlighting the violence and injustice of this masterpiece through the use of space, physicality and voices.

The company followed a similar process to the one Caryl Churchill and Monstruos Regiment took on back in 1976 to write the original text. Committing to the text from the first moment, we devised a series of exercises and improvisations that lead us into the final (never definitive) shape of this production. It is an exciting theatre experience, clever and engaging throughout.

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The Bread & Roses Theatre
68 Clapham Manor Street, London, SW4 6DZ

Nearest station:
Clapham North (Tube)


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11. Cast and creative team are subject to change and any changes provide no justification for possible refunds.
12. This production contains bad language and adult themes.


Clapham Fringe

A Performing Arts Festival in south London, from 20th October to 6th November 2016. Taking place at the innovative and award-winning Bread & Roses Theatre. "A brand new, egalitarian performing arts festival... Clapham Fringe aims to celebrate and foster emerging talent by offering an affordable stage for comedy and drama." - South West Londoner

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