All-female Shakespeare production staged in Cardiff

Wales Millennium Centre will stage an all-female production of Richard III next month. Performed by Omidaze Productions, the show runs from 10-23 February.

While men playing women and all-male Shakespeare productions are common, women playing men remains rare. Omidaze aims to challenge these conventions with a play that in its original version features over 40 male characters.

The production is using women both on and off-stage in a stance to advance equality in the theatre industry – where less than 30 per cent of the creative talent is female, even though 68 per cent of theatre audiences are women.

Director Yvonne Murphy said: ‘I firmly believe that the status of women in theatre effects and reflects the status of women in society. We want to be provocative with regard to getting women’s voices heard, and that in order to give women the room and forum to express themselves artistically we must take affirmative action. One of the ways we are trying to do this is by attempting to normalise the playing of male parts by women.’

The show will take place in the distinctive Cardiff venue’s roof void – the first time the alternative space will be used.

Wales Millennium Centre artistic director, Graeme Farrow, said: ‘I’m extremely excited to see Wales Millennium Centre’s roof void used as a performance space for the first ever time. It’s the perfect alternative setting for a play that seeks to challenge preconceptions about theatre. It’s also wonderful to be working in association with Omidaze in leading the way to increased roles for women in theatre both on and off stage.’

Photo: Omidaze © Kirsten McTernan