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New commission tells the tale of Kintore born pioneer Caroline Phillips

By David Porter

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A Monstrous Regiment of Women – brand new play commissioned for North East Scotland Garidge Theatre is to be performed at Inverurie’s Garioch Heritage Centre in June as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories programme.

Written by award-winning writer Alan Bissett, the play will explore the life of inspirational Scottish feminist, suffragette and journalist, Caroline Phillips (1874 – 13 January 1956).

Born in Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Caroline was a true pioneer: honorary secretary of the Aberdeen branch of the Women and Social and Political Union, and a journalist at a time when there were

only 66 female journalists in the UK.

Performed in English and Doric dialect by a cast of twenty young people who live in and around Inverurie, this will be a fabulous celebration of local history and language.

The play will be directed by experienced theatre-maker Rhona Mitchell – many of the cast are part of Mitchell School of Drama – with musical direction by Alisdair Sneden.

Performances will take place as part of the popular Garioch Theatre Festival.

The play has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund.

From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories is designed to connect locals and visitors with the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

A Monstrous Regiment rehearsals. Picture: Griselda McGregor
A Monstrous Regiment rehearsals. Picture: Griselda McGregor

Writer Alan Bissett said: “I am very excited to be working on A Monstrous Regiment of Women, rediscovering one of the North East's unsung heroes and a feminist pioneer, Caroline Phillips, in a show which we hope audiences will find both entertaining and thought- provoking.

"I'm also really pleased to be working with Garidge Theatre again.

Mr Francis and the Village of Secrets (2019) was enormous fun to work on, and I enjoy teasing out these forgotten stories from Aberdeenshire's past and bringing them to life with all the enthusiasm and energy of the young people involved.

"It really is an honour to work on this project"

Marie Christie, Head of Development at VisitScotland said: "We are delighted to be supporting A Monstrous Regiment of Women through the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund.

"Events play an important role in our communities as they sustain livelihoods and help to celebrate and promote our unique places, spaces and stories.

"Themed Years are all about collaboration and Museums Galleries Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund and VisitScotland are pleased to work in partnership to create this fund to showcase

community stories.

"By supporting events taking place within our communities, including A Monstrous Regiment of Women, new opportunities with be provided for locals and visitors to come together and find out more about the diverse stories, past and present, that our communities have to share.”

Performances of A Monstrous Regiment of Women will take place at the Garioch Heritage Centre, Inverurie, on June 23-26.

Tickets cost £10/7.

The full programme of shows and events can be found at http://www.gariochtheatrefestival.org.uk/

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