Moving the centre – Whoop’n’Wail guest post

17percent

Photo of Ali and Debs in discussion Ali and Debs in discussion

Whoop ‘n’ Wail Represents… is a new writing showcase with a difference. With six short pieces by both male and female playwrights, all must pass the Bechdel Test, ensuring the female characters’ contribution is significant to the plot. Inspired by Alison Bechdel’s now famous 1987 comic strip, The Rule, the test has become the benchmark for gauging fair gender representation on stage and screen and is, Whoop ‘n’ Wail believe, the lowest bar.

As guest contributors, Whoop ‘n’ Wail founders Ali Kemp and Deborah Klayman tell 17Percent about the drive behind the showcase and their plans for their next night, Represents… Desire.

We have been writing together as Whoop ‘n’ Wail since 2011, and one of our passions has always been creating exciting, entertaining theatre populated with significant (and interesting) female characters. This may be born out of our mutual frustration as…

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About Deborah Klayman

Deborah is an actress, musician, voice artist and writer based in the UK. She trained at the University of Northumbria, where she gained a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Performance, and at Drama Studio London (Postgraduate Diploma in Acting). Deborah has performed in the UK and overseas in a variety of roles which include Emilia in 'Othello' and Juliana Tesman in 'Hedda Gabler' in rep, Regan in 'King Lear', Mrs Pugh/Polly Garter in 'Under Milk Wood' and Fluellen/Alice in Henry V. An accomplished cellist and singer, the projects she undertakes frequently utilise her musical talents. Film and TV roles include: Geordie in a TV pilot for 'Dead Man's Cardy', Reporter in 'Mission London', Sarah in 'For Better or Worse', and Nurse Tremaine in 'Another Day. Deborah is also a successful voice artist, recording projects for companies such as M&C Saatchi/Silverfish Media, BP, Oxford University Press and The Scottish Sunday Express. Deborah is a talented writer, penning plays and screenplays primarily on issues surrounding social justice. Her first play, 'Janetarium', was one of three selected through the Traverse Theatre's Class Act project and was subsequently staged at the Traverse and published in Theatre Scotland Magazine. She later joined the theatre's Young Writers Group, and continued to write and devise plays throughout her university and drama school training. In 2005, she co-authored "Eve & Lilith" with Jessica Martenson which was produced at that year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2011, Deborah co-founded Whoop 'n' Wail Theatre Company with friend, collaborator and writing partner Ali Kemp. Their debut production, 'eXclusion', was produced in association with UK charity Women In Prison and toured to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, London's Waterloo East Theatre, and Bracknell's South Hill Park Arts Centre. Their latest venture, "Whoop 'n' Wail Represents...", showcases new writing that puts gender equality centre stage, working with even numbers of female and male writers and directors to stage plays that pass the Bechdel Test. Deborah was one of the Traverse Theatre's 'Traverse Fifty' (a year-long writing attachment in 2013), and Whoop 'n' Wail's play 'My Bloody Laundrette' recently won the Cambridge University Press "Channel the Bard" competition. View all posts by Deborah Klayman

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