Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Wednesday 10 July 2024

High-Stakes Drama Of Female Empowerment & Pugilism In Victorian London Comes To Brighton's New Venture Theatre

The Sweet Science of Bruising premiered at Southwark Playhouse in 2018, before transferring to Wilton's Music Hall, and is now entering the ring at Brighton's New Venture Theatre (NVT) this July.   

1869, North London. The Sweet Science of Bruising tells the tale of four very different women drawn into the underground world of exhibition pugilism

Violet Hunter, a nurse with ambitions of becoming a doctor; Anna Lamb, an abused wife and mother for whom boxing is a way to fight back; Matilda 'Matinee Matty' Blackwell, who finds flashing her fists more satisfying than flashing her ankles when times are hard; and Polly Stokes, a hard-talking pit brow lass who dreams of becoming a prize fighter. 

Each woman enters the ring under the instruction of ex-boxer and showman 'Professor' Charlie Sharp, taking hits and trading blows for the title of Lady Boxing Champion of the World

They fight each other, and against the expectations of the men around them, in a battle for a better future.

From award-winning writer Joy Wilkinson, The Sweet Science of Bruising encounters the harsh realities of the Victorian age: an era defined by scientific and medical advancements, yet stricken by inequality, dissention and poverty, against a backdrop of upheaval in both class and gender politics. 

Set amidst the struggles of the early Suffrage movement, the play faces the on-going fight for female autonomy head on. 

It explores the importance of power and passion in the pursuit of self-fulfilment, while challenging us to consider what progress has been made in our expectations of the public role and private lives of women.
 
The Sweet Science of Bruising at NVT's Studio theatre until Saturday 20th July 2024, including a matinee on Sunday 14th July. Ticket prices will be £10 for NVT members and £12 for non-members, and are available through the NVT website at www.newventure.org.uk

by: Mike Cobley




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