Futures Theatre presents: OFFSIDE

Futures Theatre presents: OFFSIDE

The MAC, Belfast • 24 – 26 May 2018

A play by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish, inspired by real, untold stories from the world of women’s football arrives in Belfast

Inspired by real, untold stories from the world of women’s football, Offside provides an untold commentary on the breakthroughs and limitations in women’s football, exploring wider themes of inequality, self-belief and empowerment.

Written by leading poets Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish, Offside goes out on its 2nd UK tour after a highly successful run at the Pleasance for the 2017 Edinburgh Festival.

3 Centuries. 1 Goal. A glorious tale of struggle and sweat.

It is 1892. It is 1921. It is 2017. Four women from across the centuries live, breathe, and play football. Whilst each of them face very different obstacles, the possibility that the beautiful game will change their futures – and the world – is tantalisingly close.  Offside is told through lyrical dialogue, poetry, and punchy prose, placing the audience on the touchline of the game of a lifetime.

The play explores the story of Emma Clarke in Liverpool 1892 – the first black professional female footballer; Lily Parr of Dick Kerr Ladies and the introduction of the FA ban in 1921, preventing women from using FA pitches; and a fictional representation of the contemporary game, explored through two characters, Mickey and Keeley.

Offside was born out of extensive research in to the history and current state of women’s football, working with top women’s teams, Manchester City Women’s FC and Millwall Lionesses, where many players, sports scientists and others, integral to the development of the game, were interviewed to gain an in-depth insight into their world. To understand the historical context, Futures’ worked with the National Football Museum (Manchester) and the Imperial War Museum (London).

In March 2017, Futures produced the first UK tour of Offside, visiting Harrogate Theatre Studio, Omnibus (Clapham), Traverse 2 (Edinburgh), The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (Havant), The Wardrobe Theatre (Bristol), Marlowe Studio (Canterbury), Cast Second Space (Doncaster), Clifftown Theatre (Southend), The North Wall (Oxford), Contact Studio (Manchester), Cambridge Junction J2, South Shields FC (site specific performance), and Northern Stage (Newcastle). The success of this first tour secured a transfer the Pleasance Courtyard for the 2017 Edinburgh Festival.

Futures Theatre, founded in 1992, is a London based charity that promotes fairness for women and girls and celebrates their untold and extraordinary lives. Using theatre they engender social change and raise awareness of the disadvantages women and young people face in society, bringing art to communities who are often socially or economically excluded from traditional theatre experiences. Futures collaborates with skilled emerging artists to develop each project, creating opportunities for brilliant female practitioners particularly, addressing the under-representation of female talent in UK theatre and celebrating this untapped potential.

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