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A Word From the Director, Anna Ryder on Gary McNair's Locker Room Talk

“When I first read the script for Locker Room Talk it felt like I had read something I shouldn’t. The words move between what is deemed okay within the boundaries of accepted conversation, to comments that are outright offensive, derogatory and dangerous.

I had, of course, heard this type of ‘banter’ before, it is pretty prolific when you occupy the world as a young woman. But I had never seen it written down like this, so concentrated; so overt; so glaring and damning and documented.

Gary says he had wanted to capture how men talk about women when they are out of ear shot. As a woman, reading the text felt like infiltrating into conversations from which I would normally be excluded. It felt like eavesdropping and it felt mischievous. It’s important to note that it was Gary who raised the topic of women and banter with his interviewees. These men are responding to a provocation. Even knowing this, there was something deeply unpleasant about reading their responses distilled on the page. 

If these men are talking about women, it felt empowering to give their words back to women to perform. It is an opportunity to re-position the way we listen to this ‘banter’, to reflect on a type of behaviour that is rife in our society and a chance to experience the accumulative effect of these ‘nothing meant by it’ remarks. 

We have spent two days rehearsing. We have explored what it feels like to perform the words of men, to occupy the space as men while we try to understand what drives this insidious behaviour. It often felt like we were in conversation with the interviewees, being both the subject of their words and the vehicle by which they will be heard. Conversation feels so important in the current climate. Listening and responding. I hope that this production can be the start of a much bigger discussion.” 


What is verbatim theatre? 
Verbatim theatre is a form of theatre in which the text that the actors perform is constructed from the precise words spoken by people interviewed about a particular topic or event. 

What is a rehearsed reading? 
A rehearsed reading is a performance in which the actors rehearse how to deliver the lines, but perform on stage with their scripts in hand. 

Please be aware that this show contains sensitive subject matter.

Locker Room Talk is performed as a rehearsed reading at Live Theatre on Wednesday 17 & Thursday 18 April.

Find out more & tickets
  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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