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National Theatre to tackle sexism in new play 'Blurred Lines' named after Robin Thicke's hit

The controversial chart-topper is the inspiration behind the production

The National Theatre is to tackle the “resurgent” issue of gender inequality with a new play created by two rising stars of the theatre world, using controversial hit "Blurred Lines" as its “lightning rod”.

The play, also called Blurred Lines, seeks to highlight that the battle against misogyny "is not won," the director said. The play has a tagline: “We need a revolution. Big or small, quiet or loud, it doesn’t matter.”

Carrie Cracknell, associate director of the Royal Court Theatre, added that Robin Thicke’s much-criticised song was a “useful access point” to exploring the themes which range from tweeting to stripping, breast feeding to online dating.

“It feels like there’s a concentration on what can become casual misogyny that operates systemically around all of us,” she said. 

Award-winning playwright Nick Payne - whose work includes Constellations - is scripting the play, which will be staged at The Shed, the National Theatre venue on the South Bank.

The pair had talked for 18 months over developing a piece on feminism and gender equality, inspired by The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today by Kat Banyard.

Ms Cracknell said: “Reading the book was like a veil being lifted. The book is an assessment of contemporary feminism. The thesis is: We think we’re equal, but it’s an illusion and here’s why. It uses statistical analysis.”

They appropriated the title following the furore around Thicke’s song. "Blurred Lines" became a number one hit last summer but its video was criticised for its use of scantily clad models, while one Daily Beast journalist referred to the lyrics as “rapey”.

It has been banned by more than 20 university campuses in the UK and earned Thicke the Sexist of the Year title from the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Ms Cracknell said: “The use of the title from the song was about the fact the song has become a lightning rod for conversation around gender in popular culture, sexism in popular culture, and we’ve seen an explosion around that in the last few months.”

Ms Cracknell, previously artistic director of the Gate, pointed to the Twitter furore that engulfed campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez : “It shines a light on a seething mass of misogyny and hatred all channelled through the anonymity of Twitter.

“While that’s painful for her it could be culturally quite useful as it reminds us that that’s not won.”