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For staff


A new play due to open next month in London re-imagines the early days of women's education at Cambridge.

Girton College arrives in London this August when a new play inspired by the pioneers of women's education at Cambridge opens at the Globe Theatre. Written by Jessica Swale, Blue Stockings begins in 1896 – a year before the University Senate voted down a proposal to grant women full degrees.
According to Swale: “It was a time of turbulent social change. What with the momentum building in the suffrage movement, you’d expect that it might have been simple to allow them equal recognition, but the force of the opposition was astonishing.”
Drawing on hours of research in Girton's archive, Swale based two of the characters, Dr Maudsley and Elizabeth Welsh, on historical figures, and was keen to show men's role in the fight for women's rights: “There were brave, outspoken men who gave everything up for the cause. I wanted to ensure that the play didn’t portray great women and awful men,” she explained.
More than a century on, student protest is alive and kicking. “There was a magical day when we were rehearsing. We were practising the riot, shouting ‘education for all’ and we had to stop working because the student protests were marching down Gower Street and they were shouting the same things. 110 years later,” said Swale.
Blue Stockings opens on 24 August at the Globe Theatre, London and runs until 11 October.


15 July 2013