(Lucy Powell's article appeared in the Times of London, August 1, 2009.)
The women changing the face of theatre
Not since Pinter and co has British theatre possessed such a brilliant wave of young playwrights. But this time round they are all women
“What’s happening now is remarkable,” says Dominic Cooke, artistic director of the Royal Court, referring to the extraordinary crop of young women writers who are rewriting theatre’s rule book. “It’s like being in the Eighties.”
In that decade the most exciting, revolutionary and enduring work for the stage was being produced by women, with Caryl Churchill in the vanguard. Afterwards, blazing comets such as Sarah Kane appeared, but there was “nothing like the critical mass and complete confidence we’re witnessing now”, Cooke says. “It is fantastic, and it is astonishing.” New works by women are igniting the Royal Court, the Young Vic, Chichester, and Soho theatres as well as New York and the West End. In October 21-year-old Atiha Sen Gupta’s first full-length play, What Fatima Did . . ., about a Muslim girl’s decision to wear a hijab to school, will headline the Hampstead Theatre’s new season.