Judging by the swagger of the new lad backlash, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Eighties and the Nineties saw an explosion of women's work and that the poor things hadn't had a look in. Stuff and nonsense, of course, but boys will be boys.
Still, the 1980s did bring us important work by Caryl Churchill, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Sarah Daniels, plus newer voices like Clare McIntyre, Phyllis Nagy and Sarah Kane. The same battle they face not to be patronised as "women writers" was being fought by Mrs Aphra Behn in the 1680s. Virginia Woolf acclaimed her as the first English woman to earn her living as a writer, with 15 plays, plus poems and novels to her credit. The Rover (below), her most popular play, was revived by the RSC in the 1980s and in something of a coup, it is now at the newly thriving Salisbury Playhouse in tandem with its sequel, The Banished Cavalier, unseen since its 1681 premiere. Why? The manuscript was lost for centuries and the last reprint was in 1915. Jonathan Church's production of The Rover has been rapturously received. With the sequel, he's confident of pulling off the double.
Salisbury Playhouse (01722 320333) to 25 MayReuse content