Theatre News - Locker Room Talk at the Scottish Parliament

With sexual harassment cases in the news again just now, The Traverse Theatre is taking Locker Room Talk straight to Scottish politicians, for a special performance in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 9th November...

Press Release

The piece – a provocative piece of event theatre conceived as a response to the sexually aggressive comments made by then Presidential candidate Donald Trump during his election campaign –  aims to ‘call out’ both the everyday and systematic sexual aggression and abuse of masculine power towards women, both physical and verbal, across all industries and levels of society. Unfortunately, its relevance and urgency has become only more apparent in the light of the ongoing exposure of the endemic bullying and sexually predatory behaviour of individuals such as movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, among too many named and unnamed others.

Created by award-winning playwright and Traverse Associate Artist Gary McNair, and directed by Traverse Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin, Locker Room Talk brings together hundreds of hours of interview material with real men, interviewed in male-dominated spaces, speaking about women. These words are then performed, verbatim, by a cast of four women, with renowned actress Blythe Duff joining the cast for this one-off performance alongside Maureen Carr, Rachael Spence and Joanna Tope.

A vital part of each performance is a post-show conversation, giving the audience opportunity to participate, ask questions, examine the issues raised and confront the crisis of gender, masculinity and extreme masculinity from Hollywood to Holyrood – and ask ‘where do we go from here?’.

Due to the overwhelming audience response and industry interest generated at its sell-out rapid response performance at the Traverse Theatre in February this year, Locker Room Talk toured as a Work in Progress to the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in May, and Latitude Festival in July, followed by a trio of performances at Traverse Festival in August. This will mark its first performance in front of an amassed collection of political bodies and decision-makers, giving everyone present the opportunity to discuss how we tackle this alarmingly common issue in practical terms.

Orla O’Loughlin, Traverse Artistic Director, said “Locker Room Talk was conceived because Gary McNair and I were convinced that the issue of deep rooted misogyny was something we needed to address head on in order to generate a conversation we felt was urgently needed. It lays bare some very ugly behaviours in an attempt to challenge the attitudes which can lead to abuse – and we continue to be overwhelmed by the interest and engagement of those who have seen the show.

We believe that the first step towards positive change is visibility and discussion. At this tipping point moment, as many brave individuals come forward to share their testimonies of violence and harassment, it’s clear that society must take action. The Traverse is proud to take a lead in tackling this pressing and difficult topic – presenting this piece to members of the Scottish Parliament provides a powerful opportunity to effect real change.”

SNP MSP Rona Mackay, Deputy Convenor of the Justice Committee, added “I am delighted to be able to host Locker Room Talk, and the Traverse Theatre, in the Scottish Parliament. The magnitude of sexual harassment, assault, abuse, rape and derogatory behaviour towards women has recently been highlighted, following the prominent #MeToo hashtag, and what is being spoken about more and more is the inequality and injustice that it is rooted in.

Through various actions the Scottish Government are taking, they are sending out a strong message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in Scotland. But, what is clear, from the past few weeks in particular, is that we must challenge the attitudes that lead to harassment, abuse, violence and bullying – and that is what Locker Room Talk does.”

LISTINGS: Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, Thursday 9 November, 5:30pm (1hr 15, including post-show discussion)

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