Ethel loves radical feminist theatre, darlings. Ever since Corinna Mermaid was earnestly doing her Theatre Studies A Level and emerging as a baby feminist and baby queer she was ravenous about all things thespian and right on. Cut to many – ehem – decades later and a new pussy posse of rad fem performers are bursting forth and in your face with their fannies, celebrating cunt and doing it with dance, fun and glitter. You KNOW we would be had by all that…
Corinna Tomrley: Tell us about Pussy Patrons (and plug the last few days of your kickstarter!)
Pussy Patrons: The PUSSY PATRONS are a company of four, born out of an anger and frustration with taboo attitudes around women’s bodies within society, focusing on the vagina, our pussy. We use storytelling, image making, food as an art material, comedy and poetry to liberate ourselves and hopefully others. We researched, devised and performed our piece, Cabaret of Cunts, in the Pinter Studio as part of a performance festival at Queen Mary, University of London. As we approach our final year at university, we are lucky enough to be taking our PUSSY PATRONAGE beyond our university walls and on tour. We hope to spread the funny, feisty, fearless and feminist style of performance around like a glorious bout of STI and fill the world with PUSSY PATRONS.
CT: Gonna be really obvious and crass now and I bet you’ve been asked a billion times, but how is this show different to The Vagina Monologues?
PP: Hahaha! Don’t worry, we’re definitely in a similar vein. I would say that we have a lot of similarities. We are both feminist, both concerned with our vaginas and we both use anecdotes and our personal experiences to try and make sense of our pussies’ place in the world. I think perhaps our biggest differences lie in the way we present our material. As a company, it is important to us to first and foremost celebrate ourselves and other women and what better way to celebrate then a massive, messy party?! We also differ hugely in aesthetic. Like the best parties, Cabaret of Cunts is tacky, colourful and sparkly with a lot of incredibly serious (!) dance routines thrown in. The party atmos also allows a bit more scope for everyone to muck in and get involved. Girls just wanna have fun after all.
CT: What is feminism and feminist activism for you?
PP: Woah-ho-ho! That’s a big question! Feminism is a really difficult term to define, not just academically but in everyday life. A lot of discourse and a fuck load of shit surrounds the word. We feel that feminism is unapologetically embracing and embodying yourself in a particular time, or space, or just always. Appreciating yourself and your body, especially within a society in which we are constantly and wrongly reminded that we are not good enough. We as a company feel it is important to celebrate feminism and use it as an active and adaptive ‘thing’ that takes into account other stories, other women and other points of view, especially within issues of intersectionality. Feminism is not something we switch on and off or only do in a rehearsal or performance, it’s formed by your environment and becomes a lens from which you see your environment. We are consistently inspired by the women that surround us and the everyday acts of ownership and strength that they show. We like to adopt a style of feminism that is accessible to all, celebratory and sticky with a sprinkle of glitter on top!
CT: You just described not only my own ethos but pretty much my life. You were at Split Britches Retro(per)spective weren’t you? How glorious are they?! I’ve always been in love with feminist and queer theatre but I would go out on a limb to say there’s not enough feminist – or even generally radical – theatre about now (beyond cabaret) – would you agree? Or are we missing something going on out there?
PP: Yes! They are amazing. We love their style of performance, their cabaret form, their work with desire and they’re unapologetic authenticity in performance. They’re funny, sexy and timeless.
Hmmm, actually we feel there’s a plethora of emerging performance artists, even in our immediate circle. We feel like this is a fantastic time, we are emerging as a lot of other artists are emerging, from what we feel is a gap from the exciting and radical work of Lois Weaver and Split Britches… a bit of an artistic revolution round 2!!! What we would argue, though, is that there are not enough platforms or theatres to expose this exciting work. There is also the issue of how to survive as an artist in London, fighting for funding and the role of economic capital. But luckily with funding programmes that exist like Kickstarter, Grants for the Arts etc. there are ways around it, it’s just finding these options. We are so grateful and lucky to have so much support on our Kickstarter, we are on our final push and any further funds, however small, would be so appreciated.
CT: What next for PP?
PP: Well……………our performance of CABARET OF CUNTS is coming up very soon – 23rd January – At the fantastic and beautiful ballroom in Limehouse Townhall (watch this space!).
After that we would like to continue to develop work and make a new piece combining a lot of elements of Cabaret of Cunts, but go into more depth and focus. For whatever happens, women remain our focus – along with a lot of heart, humour and, of course, Shania Twain. What is next for us is hopefully a lot of fun, bonding, empowerment, liberation and maybe some paid work.
Oh and did we mention we have a Kickstarter…………
PUSSY PATRONS POEM
We’re going to tell you something funny about vaginas…
There is nothing funny about vaginas.
They leak, they seep, they smell and they squeek
and they enjoy a good Phillipe.
Roll up, roll up, to the cabaret of cunts.
We do have to warn you, we may be upfront.
Expect a laugh and a cry and a cringe and a sigh, maybe even a bit of cum in your eye!
For your flower, pussy, fanny and foof,
We do hope you find some proof.
Of our struggles and triumphs,
As we refuse to suffer in silence.
With Bobby and Tracy and a bit of Dapper too,
We explore the functions of our precious foo foo.
So, wilkommen bienvenue welcome!
We hope you enjoy and have lots of fun with your chums!
We are sure that everything will go to plan,
Because man, should you feel like a woman!
Find you Pussy Patrons: