The Bungalow Café Festival is a brand new festival of theatre, music, comedy and film to celebrate 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. The festival will run from 6 September to 13 October across both venues, NST City and NST Campus.
The original Bungalow Cafe stood at 157 Above Bar Street, on the old Tyrrell and Green department store, where NST City stands today. The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies established in Southampton in 1905 held their meetings there before it was destroyed in the Blitz.
Head of programming Katy Snelling said: “Just as the Bungalow Café was the meeting point for the NUWSS we hope this festival and NST will be a meeting point for conversations about the power of women’s voices, 100 years after women first won the vote in Britain.”
The festival opens with NST’s world premiere, musical comedy Women in Power (6-29 Sep), written by seven leading female voices from the world of poetry, broadcasting, theatre and standup: Wendy Cope, Jenny Éclair, Suhayla El-Bushra, Natalie Haynes, Shappi Khorsandi, Jess Phillips MP and Brona C Titley. Award-winning NST associate Director Blanche McIntyre directs this hilarious new comedy starring Lydia Bewley, Elizabeth Boag, Anna Fordham, Lisa Kerr, Anne Odeke and Alicia Mckenzie.
Other theatre highlights include a play from Proto-type Theater, The Audit (10 Sep), which examines contemporary politics 10 years on from the 2008 financial crash from a woman’s perspective. SEXY, performed by Vanessa Kisuule (14 Sep) explores the conflicted relationship with our bodies and sexiness through comedy, spoken word, dance and various states of undress. Luca Rutherford’s Political Party (17 Sep) shows us how politics is done, through music, dancing and eggs! Other theatre includes Bullish (20-21 Sep), a mythical play exploring new and ancient territories in trans-masculine gender and identity.
Celebrate the trail blazing icon, Mae West in Salon Du Cinema, an evening of film, live performance and music (12 Sep). NST will also be screening NT LIVE: Julie (3 Oct), starring Vanessa Kirby (The Crown, NT Live: A Streetcar Named Desire) and Eric Kofi Abrefa (The Amen Corner), and RSC Live: The Merry Wives of Windsor (8 Oct).
Comedy highlights include: Ruby Wax, the Monk and the Neuroscientist, How To Be Human (29-30 Sep), Sara Pascoe with LadsLadsLads (14 Oct) and an all-female line up of NST’s regular The Comedy Bar: Big Gig (11 Oct) including Lucy Porter, Angela Barnes and Shazia Mirza.
There will also be a live all female DJ set from Frau DJs (22 Sep) and talks by leading feminist speakers Dr Naomi Paxton (22 Sep) and Dr Finn Mackay (29 Sep).
The Bungalow Café Festival culminates with a new production of Medusa (11-13 October), a shocking story of rejection, redemption and revenge, created by Laboratory Creative Associates and performed by Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Elf Lyons.
NST also will be recreating The Bungalow Café replica at the open day on 15 September, so come along and debate like a suffragette.