Time & Again Theatre Company hope to raise awareness of the ongoing gender disparity in STEM fields, particularly the lack of women in the aviation industry with brand new play, Clouds.
Written by Laura Crow, who is also set to take to the skies herself and learn to pilot a plane before the show opens in July, Clouds combines the suffocating society of pre-war Britain with a touch of comedy, early feminism, and pure vintage flair.
The year is 1913 and women are rising up...
Amidst the flock of pioneers fighting to rule the skies, Winifred (Freddie) Baxter is determined to become the first Englishwoman to enter an air race, learning to fly amidst the chaos of the suffragette movement, a glorious garden party and far too much nephology: the study of clouds. Clouds takes Britain's 'last glorious summer' and slowly draws to the surface the simmering tensions and stark inequality lurking just beneath the surface of repressed Edwardian respectability.
Clouds shows the characters of 1913 navigating many of the problems still experienced by women today, albeit to a more extreme level, and asks ‘we’re now 100 years down the line, why is there still such a low proportion of women in science and aviation, and how can we change this?’.
For example, only 22% of the workforce in core STEM occupations is female. This percentage is even lower in areas such as engineering (12%) and IT (16%).* Lower still, only 5.18% of commercial pilots worldwide are women.**
Laura, 25, has grown up surrounded by aviation as both of her parents worked in the industry for many years. For the first time this year, however, she will take to the skies herself and learn to fly a plane in preparation for the show’s run at both the Greater Manchester Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
“I feel I can’t play a pioneering young pilot without experiencing what it’s actually like to control a plane myself,” Laura said. “Ironically, despite my love of all things aviation, I’m completely afraid of flying so it’s going to be a really big challenge for me! I get nervous just driving a car so it’s a huge step to take over the controls of a plane, but I think it’s very important if I want to portray a brave pioneer like Freddie to the best of my ability.”
Time & Again are hugely excited to be performing the show as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe at the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester, home of Emmeline Pankhurst and birthplace of the suffragette movement. The show’s portrayal of the suffragette movement is incredibly important to the company. Laura reflects: “I remember seeing an image from the Women’s March in 2017 of three girls in these wonderful Suffragette costumes holding the banner ‘Same Sh*t, Different Century’. That sums things up perfectly for me. We’re still fighting. We still have a long way to go.”
Time & Again formed in the summer of 2017 and use history to highlight issues still relevant to the world today. They are excited to be returning to both the Greater Manchester Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer after their successful run of Greyhounds at the Festivals in 2018. This follows a year of touring Greyhounds around theatres, studios and villages halls across the UK, as well as some site-specific locations relating to the history of the play including the RAF Museum at Cosford, in front of their Supermarine Spitfire!
Greater Manchester Fringe
25th July at 7:30pm (1hr)
The Pankhurst Centre, Manchester
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
2nd - 17th August at 7.55pm (1hr)
Venue 39; theSpace on the Mile
Ticket prices: £10