Rise Up: By Jove Theatre Company

We all feel very strongly that the stories we tell as a culture reveal a lot about ourselves as a society – and so many of the stories told today exclude or marginalise or malign women.

By Jove Theatre Company

By Jove Theatre Company is one that came together in 2011 and all the creatives behind the company are hugely passionate about feminist theatre and retelling myth stories in feminist lights. Their aim as a company is to make the point that women’s stories matter and to retell old stories and myths in new ways that can foreground women.

This has been the aim since the company was formed eight years ago and remains true to this day.

Our aim is still to place women at the forefront of our shows, pulling them from the myths, releasing them from the stories they are embedded within, so they can be explored in depth, and thus used to address the modern world.

By Jove Theatre Company

By Jove look at Shakespeare as an example of how theatre can marginalise women. They say that “so many of his endlessly revived plays are fascinated by men, and so end up being performed by men.”

Examples of how By Jove have achieved this aim of foregrounding women successfully can be seen in their Season of Violent Women, which was a show series that ran in 2016/17 consisting of Margaret of Anjou, Here She Comes and Medea. All three of the shows had female leads who were killers, and the team were interested in how these stories portray women’s motivations, how we as audiences react to them, and whether we condemn or sympathise with their actions.

Not only do By Jove describe this season as the “most successful and interesting we’ve done”, they also realised it “really confirmed the type of work we like to produce”, describing it as “lyrical text, visually arresting staging, fully integrated music and movement, and performance in unusual spaces”.

By Jove Theatre Company have also produced a feminist adaptation of Sophocles’ Electra in 2011, as well as Pride & Prejudice: The Panto in 2015. With their two-week run of Pride & Prejudice: The Panto the team were able to play around with hand-puppets and ridiculous jokes and it certainly paid off, as in its three different staging’s, it “received rave reviews on every occasion!”

This inspiring and female-led company are currently developing a new project based on the myth of Orestes whilst working with Professor Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz. The project looks into storytelling, queer community building and how to tell stories about queer men without side-lining women and vice versa. They are collaborating with playwright Sue Blundell and musician Vivienne Youel, and they have a work-in-progress showing planned for July this year.

In a year’s time By Jove hope to be taking this newest project across the pond, as well as running it in London and having a UK tour booked.

As a company, they try to avoid the typical “Writer > Director > Performers hierarchy”, as they find that their pieces “benefit from everyone’s output, even if it makes the process a bit harder.” Noting this, By Jove are always open to new voices and ideas, so do get in touch if you are interested in their work!

Quick Fire Questions

  • In the theatre world, who inspires you? “so many amazing women in theatre, past and present, whose work we emulate and who continue to inspire us”
  • What is your favourite show that you’ve seen? “some highlights have been Escaped Alone at The Royal Court” and “Memorial at The Barbican”
  • What is your favourite genre of theatre? “theatre that responds to the space it’s in and theatre that’s made to try to make people see new perspectives”
  • What do you think we need more of in theatre? “the theatre community needs to confront its own institutional classism, sexism, racism, ableism and homophobia”

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