Director Lucy Kerbel probes great plays for women

Lucy Kerbel. Photo Slav Kirichok.
Lucy Kerbel. Photo Slav Kirichok.

Who says there are no great plays for women? Writer and director Lucy Kerbel challenges the assumption with her groundbreaking book 100 Great Plays for Women.

She is holding a series of discussion groups at the National Theatre’s Clore Learning Centre to probe women’s role in theatre.

In the series she will explore a few of these hundred. Well-known, obscure, much-loved and forgotten plays are discussed and performed in these thought-provoking sessions.

Lucy is the director of Tonic Theatre and an award-winning theatre director.

Having begun her career as resident director at the National Theatre Studio and English Touring Theatre, Kerbel went on to direct a range of classics, new writing and productions for younger audiences.

In addition to directing she does consultancy, lecturing, and works extensively in theatre education.

The series starts on October 1 and runs through until November 22.

Week 1: Power
Wednesday 1 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Plays covered: Welcome to Thebes by Moira Buffini, Numbers by Kieron Barry, The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca, The Amen Corner by James Baldwin and Breath Boom by Kia Corthron. Guest speaker Moira Buffini

Week 2: One Woman Plays
Wednesday 8 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Plays covered: Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell, Bed Among the Lentils by Alan Bennett, Grounded by George Brant, Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall and Happy Days by Samuel Beckett. Guest speaker Christopher Haydon

Week 3: Domestic Dramas
Wednesday 15 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Plays covered: August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, Dear Octopus by Dodie Smith, Men Should Weep by Ena Lamont Stewart, Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley and Phèdre by Jean Racine.

Week 4: Women Behaving Badly
Saturday 8 November, 11.30am-1.30pm
Plays covered: The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus, The Maids by Jean Genet, The Boston Marriage by David Mamet, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress by Alan Ball and Attempts on her Life by Martin Crimp.

Week 5: War
Saturday 15 November, 11.30am-1.30pm
Plays covered: Cockroach by Sam Holcroft, Women of Troy by Euripides, Goodbye My Fancy by Fay Kanin, Pax by Deborah Levy and Summer by Edward Bond. Guest speaker Sam Holcroft

Week 6: The World of Work
Saturday 22 November, 11.30am-1.30pm
Plays covered: A Chat with Mrs Chicky by Evelyn Glover, Nine Till Six by Aimee and Philip Stuart, Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, Contractions by Mike Bartlett and The Stepmother by Gita Sowerby. Guest speaker Professor Gilli Bush-Bailey

To find out more about the courses go to or contact the box office: 020 7452 3000, open 9.30am – 8pm, or call Information 020 7452 3400.

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