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Glam Rock, The Stepford Wives and TheBabyQuestion

I trained in technical theatre, stage design and filmmaking long before I trained in performance. I also have a lifelong passion for fashion and pop cultureWhen I am making a new piece of work I generally avoid seeing theatre that is tackling the same theme, but I take in other art forms on that theme quite voraciously. My thinking in this is, by watching, reading, listening to something on the same theme in another artform, any influences will always be transformed by adapting into your own.

As I have made a lot of work that deals with big societal themes, I also often am interested in how these themes are reflected by pop culture. There is no show I have made that is more heavily influenced by pop culture than TheBabyQuestion, a performance I devised with Luca Rutherford & Catriona James with an incredible creative team including dramaturgy by Maddy Costa and movement direction by Janine Fletcher.

In the very early days of devising TheBabyQuestion, before I had a creative team or collaborators, I started doing all this research on the history of contraception in the U.K. and I ended up in this internet wormhole around the year 1974. 1974 was when the contraceptive pill became available through the NHS to single women. It was also the year Brian Eno, a major figure of the glam rock scene released his seminal album “Here come the warm jets” and it was only a year after the iconic film The Stepford Wives was released.

 

 

So in my head 1974 became this continuum of the gender fluidity of glam rock, the sexual liberation promised by the contraceptive pill , and then the cautionary warning of The Stepford Wives with a kind of repressive femininity on the other. I was really interested in exploring this binary, and the aesthetic of the show really emerged from that. It was so strong that even when collaborators became involved, it became a frame to play with and devise personas from.

 

TheBabyQuestion Promo Image credits - Field & McGlynn