Now here’s a couple of names to conjure: Middle Child and Milk Presents. Based in Hull and Manchester, respectively, they are two of the most interesting independent companies around, and they have joined forces to create a new show about the Victorian artist Elizabeth Thompson, who came close to being the first woman elected to the Royal Academy in 1879. She never stopped fighting for her place in a male-dominated space. Pecs Drag Kings star Emer Dineen plays Elizabeth, and a cast of drag artists plays the Royal Academicians in a show that celebrates outsiders fighting back in a male-dominated world.
“Cause here she comes. She’s the baddest, bitchin’ babe of art.” In 1874 Elizabeth Thompson stuns the Royal Academy with her painting, Roll Call. Five years later, she falls two votes short of becoming the first woman elected to the academy. In between, she must shoulder the hopes and dreams of women across the country – including her suffragette sister – while fighting for her place at a table full of top hats, ties and mutton chop beards. Theatre, music hall and drag king swagger collide as Modest brings you a Victorian art scene superstar. This electrifying new play will break your heart and start a revolution. Produced by Middle Child (The Canary and the Crow; All We Ever Wanted Was Everything) in collaboration with Milk Presents (JOAN; Trans Filth and Joy), Modest was developed with the support of the National Theatre’s Generate programme and is funded by Arts Council England and Hull City Council. Age Guidance: 14+ Content warning: Misogyny and detailed descriptions of combat injuries, strong language