Dreadnought South West

Image from Rebellious Sounds

Dreadnought South West is an organisation that celebrates women’s stories and voices with theatre making at its heart.

Dreadnought’s Co-Directors are Josie Sutcliffe and Natalie McGrath.

Our current venture is called: Rebellious Sounds, where we are making a new theatre show called ‘The Orchard’, and collecting stories about women and activism to establish a new archive. We have been taking scratch performances of ‘The Orchard’ to a range of communities to engage with audiences in a meaningful way with post scratch conversations to help us develop the work. We hope to bring the finished show to Exeter Phoenix in 2016.

We currently have six Associated Artists: Ruth Mitchell, Michelle Ridings, Catherine Cartwright, Nicci Wonnacott, Claire Ingleheart and Rebecca Hulbert.

Founded in 2012, our first major project in 2013 celebrated the centenary of the Great 1913 Women’s Suffrage PIlgrimage, from Land’s End to Hyde Park by touring a new theatre show ‘Oxygen’: written by Natalie McGrath, directed by Josie Sutcliffe, designed by Sophia Clist and composed by Claire Ingleheart. We toured to over 20 of the original pilgrimage stopping places on the route taken in 1913, engaging around 6,500 people along the way, not only with audiences of ‘Oxygen’, but also with around 45 associated arts and heritage waymarker projects specific to people and place. This project was awarded a Highly Commended Prize in the inaugural Women’s History Network Community Prize 2014.

Exeter Phoenix has been a great supporter and champion of Dreadnought South West since its inception. Providing space for us to meet, debate, make and perform our work, sharing it with a wide range of audiences. Offering wider organisational support as we were starting out was crucial to our understanding of the potential artistic direction and development of Dreadnought South West. It did without doubt contribute to the overall success of our first major venture. It has been and continues to be a central hub for all the artists we are collaborating with on projects. We have brought work to Rougemont Gardens through Exeter Phoenix’s support and guidance, and shared scratch work in the Black Box and Dance Studio’s. It’s fantastic to be able to make work in the centre of Exeter.

The overall support Exeter Phoenix provides is invaluable to us as a small project based arts organisation. The Phoenix has given us a home and the staff are always fantastic, always helpful and willing to provide us with their expertise, showing an awareness and understanding of how support such as this can really make a difference to a project based organisation like ours. Thank you Phoenix.

Website: dreadnoughtsouthwest.org.uk