Sex lives and how they are negotiated will be put under scrutiny through short plays and talks as part of the Royal Court’s Big Ideas series when it returns to the Sloane Square venue between 8 and 13 March.
The mini season of work comprises a promenade performance taking in five short plays written around the theme of unusual unions, a big debate about how and why sexual partnerships are formed and a discussion about feminist writing.
An impressive quintet of writers has contributed the short plays that will be presented across many spaces in the Royal Court on 8 March. Rachel De-lahay was named Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards in 2013 and is a regular on lists compiling the hottest new talent to watch. Rebecca Lenkiewicz was the first living female playwright to have her work staged at the National’s Olivier Theatre, and Tom Wells’ acclaimed work includes Bush Theatre hits Jumpers For Goalposts and The Kitchen Sink. Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s The World Of Extreme Happiness ran at the National Theatre and will be staged in both Chicago and New York later this year, while Kieran Hurley’s credits include Beats and Rantin.
Playwright Alecky Blythe, who specialises in using recordings of real subjects to create her work, will take part in The Big Debate: Should We Contract Our Sex Lives? Writer of hit musical London Road and The Girlfriend Experience, Blythe will discuss the topic with anthropologist Sophie Day and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell on 12 March, in a debate chaired by former The Times theatre critic Libby Purves.
Abi Morgan, whose play The Mistress Contract inspired this Big Idea season, will discuss writing a feminist play with Nick Payne on 13 March. Payne, whose Constellations won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play, has his piece examining gender politics, Blurred Lines, playing at the National Theatre’s Shed.
The Mistress Contract, which begins its run at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Downstairs later this month, is the story of an unusual 30-year relationship. While He provided her with a house and income, She provided ‘mistress services’. When She requests a contract to solidify their agreement, questions begin to arise.