2017 is 75th anniversary of The Idle Women, the nickname for the women who manned the working boats during WWII. Now former Worcestershire Poet Laureate Heather Wastie and writer/performer Kate Saffin will recreate their journey from London to Birmingham and back again.
To mark this special occasion, this double bill of plays will tell the stories of those young women who took up the challenge of managing a pair of boats and 50 tons of cargo.
The first, Isobel’s War is a solo play written and performed by Kate Saffin, based on the experiences of wartime trainees. The story follows Isobel who doesn’t think that rolling bandages and serving tea in the leafy suburbs of Oxford counts as proper war work, then she spots an advertisement and encounters a world she didn’t know existed.
Meanwhile, Idle Women and Judies originally started as an audio piece, written and performed by Heather Wastie and is based on the memories of three women during the war.
Talking about the plays Kate Saffin said: “The stories, or at least the existence, of the trainees are known to many boaters and waterway enthusiasts but few beyond the towpath know they even existed never mind what they did. We are recreating this journey to celebrate their achievements, recognise their contribution to the war effort and explore their relationships with the indigenous boaters. We think it’s important to make this journey with these local stories so that we can share the history that is on the audience’s doorstep – or at least the nearest bit of towpath or the pub.”
Presented by Alarum Theatre, the production will tour the UK’s canals this summer, accompanied by a historic narrowboat.
Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways will tour the UK from the 15th April until the 5th August. For more information and to book your spot to see the show visit: http://www.alarumtheatre.co.uk/