This is BULLS***: Theatre company making new show about female professional bull rider

Plymouth-based theatre company Kick the Dirt are currently making a new show set in the white-knuckle, masculine world of professional bull riding. The catch? It’s about a woman.

BULLS*** is the latest show from emerging female-led theatre company Kick the Dirt. The piece follows the story of Rosie Abbot, a female rodeo rider who wants to compete professionally in the male-dominated world of PBR, or Professional Bull Riding. The project is a response to the 'big questions' about gender, power & lack of opportunities for women which have been raised by the Time’s Up & #metoo campaigns. BULLS*** will be performed at the Lab at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in December, after an intensive 3 week rehearsal process.

Director Nicole Redfern says: ‘When I came across the world of PBR, immediately noticed its masculine values. I was curious about what might happen to a woman in that kind of a sport. I thought it could make a really interesting and inspiring story'.

To research the show, the company did a series of workshops with women and girls in local schools and sports centres, including the Plymouth Life Centre and Ivybridge Community College. Through discussion and creative exercises, the groups explored their relationship to physical activity and sport, their perceptions of male and female athletes, and their sense of aspiration and limitation. 

The show’s director says: ‘I wanted to ensure that the piece was as truthful and honest as it possibly could be. Talking and working creatively with local teenagers and women was a fantastic way to understand what they really experience, think and feel. We then fed that in to our rehearsal process, and let it influence the character, themes and story’.

Kick the Dirt are a young company led by local theatremaker and director Nicole Redfern, working in collaboration with a number of South West-based associate artists. Nicole is a homegrown artist who trained on the Theatre Royal Plymouth’s professional development scheme, the Lab Company. She is now starting to make her own work, which she describes as ‘coming from the gut: live, physical, honest and political’. BULLS*** is being supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and with artistic & production support from Theatre Royal Plymouth.

BULLS*** will be playing at The Lab at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, between 13th – 15th December, at 8 pm. Tickets cost £8, and can be bought online at https://www.theatreroyal.com/whats-on/2018/bulls/# or over the phone by calling the Box Office on 01752 267222. There will be a ‘Chilled Performance’, suitable for those with various access needs, on Thursday 13th October.