The Sweet Science of Bruising
by Joy Wilkinson
“When that bell rings, your life is entirely in your hands.”
London, 1869. Four very different Victorian women are drawn into the dark underground world of female boxing by the eccentric Professor Sharp. Controlled by men and constrained by corsets, each finds an unexpected freedom in the boxing ring. As their lives begin to intertwine their journey takes us through grand drawing rooms, bustling theatres and rowdy Southwark pubs where the women fight inequality as well as each other. But with the final showdown approaching only one can become the Lady Boxing Champion of the World…
Based on historical research into 19th century women’s boxing, The Sweet Science of Bruising is a fascinating new play by Joy Wilkinson (Verity Bargate Award winner and new series writer for Doctor Who). Featuring an ensemble cast and thrilling up-close boxing matches, this is an epic tale of passion, politics and pugilism.
Directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward (Chef – The Scotsman Fringe First Award winner) and produced by Troupe who return to Southwark Playhouse after their critically acclaimed productions of Dear Brutus and The Cardinal (The Telegraph Critics’ Choice), and Rasheeda Speaking at Trafalgar Studios, which was nominated for five Off West End Awards.
Age Recommendation: 12+
Reviews for The Sweet Science of Bruising at Southwark Playhouse:
★★★★★ ‘One of the best new plays I have seen in years… Wonderful.’ Daily Express
★★★★ ‘Joy Wilkinson’s fascinating, full-blooded play… a knockout.’ The Times
★★★★ ‘Thoroughly heartfelt, highly original and completely timely.’ The Arts Desk
★★★★ ‘A startling, visceral account of early feminist struggles.’ The Reviews Hub
★★★★ ‘The Sweet Science of Bruising is Joy Wilkinson’s ode to women everywhere.’ LondonTheatre1
★★★★ ‘Book yourself a ringside seat for this bold little belter.’ Stage Review
Kirsty Patrick Ward
Fight and Movement Director
Alison de Burgh
Sound Designer and Composer
Thursday 25th October
Join the cast and creatives after this evening’s show for a Q&A chaired by Alun Hood.
Saturday 6th October
How do you research, write and stage a brand-new play about female boxers in Victorian London? How does this 19th-century story resonate in our #TimesUp era? Are female writers and creatives finally getting their voices heard? MyTheatreMates, StageFaves and WhatsOnStage founder Terri Paddock chairs a post-show Q&A with The Sweet Science of Bruising’s writer Joy Wilkinson and director Kirsty Patrick Ward after the 3.30pm matinee on Saturday 6 October. Free to all ticket-holders.