Chucked Up Theatre got their name from a few different areas; not only does it reflect the idea that the company like to chuck a few ideas up in the air and seeing where they land, it’s also a euphemism for vomit, and writer behind the company, Ella Langley, believes her writing can often come out like word vomit.
After fate brought them together on multiple occasions, from a 15th birthday party, sitting next to each other in English Literature A-Level, and then at Xaverian College in Manchester studying Shakespeare, Ella Langley and Hannah Chukwu decided to start making theatre together in 2017.
Their theatre is a bit haphazard and experimental, but it works, nonetheless.
The pair believed that there was a lack of space for the work that they wanted to create, which was primarily female driven theatre, particularly comedy, that touches on typically uncomfortable or underrepresented topics, so they started making their own.
Their first show Girls Will Be Girls was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. The show was a satire which followed seven teenage girls on the day before Oxford University offers and rejections arrive.
We wanted to explore the “teen girl” and show that seven different female characters on stage were more than enough to create a gripping drama and good comedy.
As well as learning the entire process of putting a show together, Ella and Hannah certainly learnt how to think on the spot: from flyers being printed wrong to being evicted from their accommodation, the women were forced to be flexible and really pull together as a cast and crew the make their show as successful as it was.
As a company, Chucked Up Theatre aims to:
make theatre that is a playground for social commentary and for joyful escapism at the same time…We want to entertain audiences by finding humour and heart
And this is truly at the heart of their upcoming production Have I Told You I’m Writing A Play About My Vagina?. The show is a two-hander following a woman’s experience with vaginismus, a condition that makes penetration painful or even impossible. The show aims to challenge social biases around female sexuality, and through some research, this has proven very necessary.
On average, a quarter of women skip their smear test because they are embarrassed and a third of women suffer from some kind of sexual dysfunction. These numbers are both high, yet female sexuality and genitalia is so often considered taboo and left unsaid. The show by Chucked Up Theatre loosely follows the narrative of the writer Ella Langley who suffers from the condition.
Have I told You I’m Writing A Play About My Vagina? includes a talking vagina, who can also DJ and dance, but cannot be heard by her human, Bea. The play is certainly a comedy, but also has some hard-hitting truths about self-acceptance, and the team behind the show hope that the joyful aspects are a great way to deal with a topic that is “usually drowned in shame and silence”.
So far in their career, seeing people’s reactions to Have I Told You I’m Writing A Play About My Vagina has been the team’s highlight, especially when audience members told Chucked Up about their genitals! It was this moment that made Chucked Up Theatre realise that it was because of their work that people were opening up and these conversations started to come to life.
In a year’s time, the company hope that they will be carrying on their current show into 2020 and that they can start producing new shows and projects together. They want to continue asking questions about why these topics are so under-spoken about and continue building a space for women to experiment and work on theatre together.
Quick Fire Questions
- In the theatre world, who inspires you? “Have I Told You I’m Writing A Plat About My Vagina? was inspired by our writer watching HOTTER by the HOTTER project at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe”
- What is your favourite show that you’ve seen? “Emilia, Billy Elliot, SIX the Musical, The Brother’s Size and Big Love”
- What do you think we need more of in theatre? “theatre’s biggest problem is access”