40th anniversary reading of Jane Arden’s play Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven followed by a roundtable discussion at Toynbee Studios with original cast members Sheila Allen and Victor Spinetti, and the production’s director, Jack Bond. Jane Arden’s play was the first British theatre work to come out of the Women’s Liberation Movement when it was staged at Jim Hayne’s Drury Lane Arts Lab in February, 1969.
The event has furnished us with new and exciting documentation relating not only to the work of Jane Arden and the original production of Vagina Rex, but also that of the Arts Lab, Drury Lane, active from 1967-69, one of the pioneering alternative theatre venues that emerged in the late 1960s. Companies and people who produced there include: Steven Berkoff, Nancy Meckler and Freehold, David Hare, Portable Theatre, Brighton Combination, Lindsay Kemp and the People Show. The reading and discussion were recorded by the National Sound Archives and is now available for viewing at the British Library.
The play was read by Janet Behan, Gerard Bell, Alice Fernbank, Chloe Lewis, Nadeam Milward and Isabel Scott Plummer, and directed by Jessica Higgs.
The discussion was chaired by Susan Croft and can be listened to at theatrevoice.com (then click on The Archive and put Vagina Rex in Search box).