‘There comes a time, during a woman’s pubic development, when she will expend tremendous energy in the recurring demands of menstruation. Can she bear mental drain in addition to these physical demands? The overexertion of a woman’s brain, at the expense of the other vital organs, may lead to atrophy, mania, or worse, may leave her incapacitated as a mother. These, sirs, are facts of nature, proven by science.’
Final year BA Acting students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are very pleased to bring Jessica Swale’s revealing play about educational equality in Victorian times to Arcola.
1896. Girton College, Cambridge has become the first college in Britain to admit women and four young female students are trailblazing the way forward, on the cusp of women’s suffrage. But nothing is as easy as it seems. Faced with strong opposition from leading scholars, students and even Queen Victoria herself – who believed a women’s place was very much at home and out of these institutions – the girls’ fight for the right to study is challenged at every turn.
Based on real events, we follow Tess Moffat and her fellow students as they navigate the ever-complicated road to equality and discover whether they can sacrifice love and family for the cause of female education – and make history.