Fifty Years of Feminist Change in Theatre

Women’s Theatre Festival 50th Anniversary events

Hosted by Inter-Action at ED Berman‘s Almost Free Theatre, the 1973 festival was the foundation for numerous careers, campaigns, creative works, conferences and calls for action and began fifty years of feminist change in theatre, the effects of which are still with us today. It also led to the formation of Women’s Theatre Group (now Sphinx Theatre Group), later that of Monstrous Regiment and thence to many more, with feminist theatre companies and initiatives popping up all over the place with more than 80 women’s companies on our list by 1990. Among those UH interviewees who took part in that first festival were Anne Engel, Lily Susan Todd and Michelene Wandor, while others attending included Lyn Ashley, playwright Pam Gems, Dinah Brooke, artist Tina Keane and numerous others.

Unfinished Histories is planning a number of events over 2023 to mark these 50 years, the festival and beyond. Sign up to our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or email for more information or keep checking this page.
If you would like to make a donation to support this work please email us or see the Donations page for how to do so.

A 1973 Bonanza: 50 Years of Feminist Theatre

The event will mark a first step in marking the 50th anniversary of the first Women’s Theatre Festival later this year.  Susan Croft of Unfinished Histories will be taking part on a panel as part of the brilliant Calm Down Dear festival at Camden People’s Theatre, organised by So La Flair theatre on Saturday 3rd June in the afternoon (Booking link here).

Here’s the gen from their web site:

Camden People’s Theatre and So La Flair invite you to launch the 10th year of CPT’s Annual Feminist Theatre Festival Calm Down Dear.


This event celebrates 10 years of Calm Down Dear and marks the 50 year anniversary of the first Women’s Theatre Festival in 1973, championing 50 years of feminist theatre making and charting its evolution over the last five decades.

This is an opportunity for intergenerational connection and conversation on progress made and what agendas lie ahead. As was the first women’s theatre festival in 1973, this anniversary 50 years later offers us another milestone stop-point to gather together and check in on the state of gender parity in the UK theatre industry.

The event will begin at 2.30pm with a panel discussion on feminist theatre ecology with panelists including Calm Down Dear 2023 programmer Abbi Greenland from RASHDASH, Jessica Kaliissa, Lily Susan Todd, Amelia Donkor and Susan Croft. We will be looking at barriers facing creatives and asking how we can work to progress towards equality both on and off stage.

The discussion will then be followed by a 1970s inspired social with a chance for us all to meet, network and celebrate our community – in all our glitter, grit and glory.

See this space on the Calm Down Dear festival site for more information.

Article from Spare Rib, Feb 1974