The Invincibles

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A world premiere play from Amanda Whittington celebrates both the Lionesses’ epic summer adventure at the World Cup and the pioneering women who played a century before.

We are introduced to Maya, a seventeen-year-old footballer who has been released from the Academy due to an injury. She’s waiting for her exam results but has not done anything all summer as she’s too depressed thinking she no longer has a future playing football. Maya is glued to the Women’s World Cup 2023 cheering on the Lionesses. 

The circular stage turns and we are in 1917. It’s World War 1, the men are fighting and the women are in the factories working. After a hard 12-hour shift, a small group of women want to play football and persuaded their supervisor Cholly, to teach them the basics. With grit, determination and passion they became the Sterling Ladies. Other factory teams followed suit and women’s football began.

The play flips between the two time periods, the story of women’s football during the war and the present day Women’s World Cup. It blends together well and as we understand the Sterling Ladies story more we appreciate their struggles and hard work in order for Maya, generations later, to even be able to consider a career in football.

The Sterling Ladies were known as the Dagenham Invincibles and were the greatest women’s football team as they never lost a game in their two seasons.

Unfortunately, ladies factory teams only lasted two seasons. In the 1919 season, the war was over, the men returned and it wasn’t deemed appropriate for women to play football. The FA actually banned women from playing football for 50 years! It’s amazing this was ever a thing, and where would women’s football be today if they were not banned? 

The storyline was compelling, heart-warming and fascinating. The split between the two time lines worked a treat and using a rotating circular stage was certainly challenging, yet inventive. The depiction of playing the football games was a joy to watch, with the obvious size restrictions on stage, the choreography, and almost contemporary dance as the players ran in and out of formation, kicked and headed the ball and there were the genius slo-mo moments.

The cast were excellent. I felt they completely understood what they were representing and how important this story is, you could feel their passion.

Gladys – Gemma Barnett
Ada – Georgia Bruce
Cholly/Commentator – Simon Darwen
Maya – Yanexi Enriquez
Sammy/Hannah  – Emma Feeney
Trixie – Rebecca Hayes
Maud – Nikita Johal
Nell – Eleanor Kane
James – Steve Simmonds

Photo Credit: Zbigniew Kotkiewicz 


The Drifters Girl



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