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  • Prison Performing Arts

Exclusive Q&A with Playwright Courtney Bailey: Unveiling the Inspiration Behind "Britches! A Play for Lady Romeos"

Discover the creative journey behind Britches! A Play for Lady Romeos with insights straight from the playwright herself, Courtney Bailey. Through a series of thought-provoking questions, Courtney sheds light on the inspiration, challenges, and personal connections that shaped this captivating production. Set to grace the stage at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center on Thursday, March 14, 2024, Britches! promises to be a theatrical adventure celebrating the resilience and artistry of the WERDCC performers. Delve into the creative process and gain insider insights into the making of this unforgettable play!

Can you share the inspiration behind Britches! A Play for Lady Romeos and how the idea came to fruition? I've always been fascinated with Charlotte Cushman, a woman who found her independence through art-making at a time (the Victorian period) where this path was very difficult for women.

What challenges did you face while adapting the story of Charlotte Cushman and her sister Susan for the stage? It took me six years to finish it!

How did the collaboration with the talented artists of WERDCC and members of the Alumni Theatre Company enhance the creative process? I was not able to finish the play until they spoke their wisdom into it. Sometimes, you cannot finish a play until you know who the play is for. This play is made for the artists of WERDCC.

What aspects of Charlotte Cushman's life resonated with you, and how did you approach blending history with creativity in your writing? I was fascinated that she performed with her sister. In fact, she actually hired her younger sister when Susan was in a precarious situation. Although their relationship (historically) was imperfect, I appreciate that Charlotte showed up for her.

Were there specific Shakespearean elements or themes that you aimed to highlight in this play? Yes! This play includes a great deal of engagement with Romeo and Juliet.

Outside of your work on Britches, what other projects are you currently passionate about? I'm currently working on a new play called ROMANOV FAMILY YARD SALE for Equally Represented Arts here in St. Louis.

If you could have a conversation with Charlotte Cushman over coffee, what's the first question you would ask her? Favorite pants?

Don’t forget to RSVP by Friday, February 16.

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