Category: theatre

Sophie Treadwell (1885-1970) was an American playwright and journalist of Mexican
heritage. Her most famous work, the 1928 play Machinal, is often
included in anthologies as an example of an expressionist or modernist play.

She was a dedicated feminist and
suffragist, also advocating for sexual liberation and birth control rights. Her
writing career spanned more than six decades, and seven of her plays were staged
on Broadway.

Madeeha
Gauhar
(1956-2018) was
an actor, playwright and theatre director from Pakistan. She was also a women’s
rights activist, and the plays put on by her company dealt with social issues
and promoted a secular and equal society.

She studied at the University of London, but then returned to her native
country and founded Akoja Theatre in Lahore in 1983. Her 2007 play Burqavaganza, dealing with themes of gender discrimination and intolerance, was met
with calls for a ban and threats of sanction from the Pakistani government, but
found success internationally.

Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) was a famous Welsh-English actress, best known for her
roles in tragedies and particularly Shakespearean plays. She was referred to by
a contemporary critic as “tragedy personified”.

She started her career in 1774, and played
numerous roles until her retirement in 1812. Her most famous and lauded
performance was as Lady Macbeth. An acting award in her name has been in
existence since 1952.

Above: Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth, Robert
Smirke

Antoinette Perry (1888-1946) was an actress
who achieved prominence at the beginning of the 20th century. The
famous Tony Awards are named after her.

She began her acting career at the
age of 18, and started directing in 1928. She helped found the American Theatre
Wing and served as its secretary and chairwoman of the board.

Eve Ensler (b. 1953) is performer and
playwright, best known for her 1996 play The
Vagina Monologues
, considered one of the most important examples of
political theatre of our times. She is also a devoted activist in a range of
feminist causes.

She is the founder of
V-Day, a global movement aimed at ending violence towards women and girls. Each
year, productions of The Vagina
Monologues
raise awareness and funds for this purpose. The money raised
helped to open shelters and create thousands of anti-violence programmes not
only in the US, but throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Luise
Gottsched
(1713-1762) was a German poet, playwright, and
translator, considered one of the founders of theatrical comedy in her home
country. She was a leading intellectual not only in Germany, but across Europe,
famed for her intelligence and exceptional education.

Her work as a translator helped to bring more than fifty volumes from
French and English to a German audience, on topics ranging from poetry and
history to philosophy and even physics. Among her more famous works are the
1745 comedies Das Testament and Der Witzling.