Stand up poet on tour to tell the story of the North’s forgotten women

A comic and thought-provoking show about the real Northern Powerhouse, Northern Women – the sung and the unsung is coming to Barnsley.

This funny show uncovers the hidden history of the writers, scientists, sportswomen, politicians, protestors, musicians and other heroines who represent the grit, determination and spirit of the North’s women.

Stand Up Poet Kate Fox (Radio 4, Radio 3) is making the final call of her acclaimed show, Where There’s Muck There’s Bras in Barnsley after a run of showsto the theatres and stages of the North of England where she has been sharing forgotten stories of the great women of the North.

Commissioned for the Great Exhibition of the North, the show draws on Kate’s PhD on class, gender and North English regional identity in stand up. Combining poetry and performance, the show tells the story of a variety of Northern women, from literature to sport, science, enterprise, protest, politics, music and art. Written and performed by Kate, featuring actor Joanne Holden, the show aims to redress the balance to reflect a more diverse Northern identity.

Women in the show include Warrington swimmer Hilda James, who learnt how to swim at Garston Baths and introduced the American Crawl (or front crawl) to the UK and was known as the ‘English Comet’. Holding every British and European freestyle record in 1924 she was expected to secure an Olympic title but her mother refused to let her attend the Paris Olympics. When she turned 21 she became a swimming teacher and took a job with Cunard.

Dora Thewlis was 17 when she travelled to London to take part in a political march and was arrested with fellow suffragettes for attempting to rush the House of Commons. She was known as the ‘Baby Suffragette’ when the picture of her arrest appeared on newspapers. In response to the media nickname she said “I am not a baby, in May next year I shall be 18. Surely, for a girl, that is a good age?”

St Helens Footballer Lily Parr was almost 6ft and reputedly had a harder shot than any male player. She played in the first international women’s football tournament between England and France in 1920, partly held at Deepdale Stadium. The Football Association then banned women from playing on their member grounds (the ban held for 50 years). A mental health nurse, and LGBT icon, she was the first female player included in the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.

Kate says, “At a time when the North lags behind the South on all measures from employment to life expectancy, it’s time for women’s voices to be heard. The people who have written about, sung about and represented the North are mostly men. From your classic Northern curmudgeons like Morrissey, Alex Turner, Richard Ashcroft, to the endless musicians in parkas leaning against walls and Northern politicians in identikit grey suits. For the region’s full future potential to shine through we need to look at the people of our past and present with a different lens and writing a much broader story for the North. This show is an attempt to put women back in the picture.”

Kate Fox is part of April Fools Barnsley Comedy Festival, with top comedy acts performing across town throughout the month. Look out for acts such Abigoliah Schamaun, Gary Delaney, Grainne Macguire and Barnsley’s own Toby Foster. There is even a comedy club especially for children.

Kate Fox: Where There’s Muck There’s Bras is at The Civic, Barnsley on Thursday 18 April 2019 at 8:00pm

Tickets are £10

For further booking information visit or contact The Civic Box Office on 01226 327 000

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