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Cowbois at The Swan


Vinnie Heaven and Sophie Melville. Image by Henri T (c) RSC.


Cowbois by Charlie Josephine running from 14 October – 18 November at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. Co-directed by Charlie Josephine and Sean Holmes.


In a sleepy town in the Wild West, the women drift through their days like tumbleweed. Their husbands, swept up in the goldrush, have been missing for almost a year and show no sign of returning. In fact, the town is almost cut off from outsiders entirely, with only one drunken sheriff for protection. That is until handsome bandit Jack Cannon, a trans masc cowboy, swaggers up to the town’s saloon, inspiring a gender revolution.


Charlie Josephine is an award-winning writer and actor whose most recent work includes I, Joan (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2022) and One of Them Ones (Pentabus).


Talking about Cowbois, Charlie said: “Cowbois a big queer cowboy show. It’s full of everything you’d expect from a western, but our lone ranger - Jack Cannon - is a gender outlaw who fights patriarchy and inspires a revolution in a town full of women. It’s an exploration of honest desire in bodies assigned female at birth, when they’re free from the male gaze and given the chance to be their authentic selves.


Sophie Melville playing Miss Lillian. Image by Henri T (c) RSC.


“I love cowboys and wanted to be one growing up. There’s something about the iconic gesture and pose of a cowboy, the sexiness, the swagger that I used as the inspiration for the character of Jack. I also wanted to disrupt the Hollywood version of cowboys: the white cis straight men who are often misogynistic and racist. Instead, I wanted to write about sexy trans masculine cowboys and queer working-class women.


“There’s not enough theatre by, for and about working-class women and queer people. I hope people coming to watch this show feel empowered seeing these characters on this stage. I hope people have some interesting chats about patriarchy, gender and freedom after seeing it. And of course, I hope that everyone will have a great night out!


“Cowbois is an exploration of masculinity, power and freedom. But moreover, it’s a love letter to the trans masculine people in history whose stories have been ignored or erased.”


Vinnie Heaven playing Jack Cannon. Image by Henri T (c) RSC.


Co-director, Sean Holmes added: “Charlie and I are delighted with this exceptional cast for our upcoming production of Cowbois. They are a brave, clever and creative collective, and we look forward to having lots of fun making a bold, provoking and entertaining show together.”


The cast comprises: Bridgette Amofah (Mary); Lee Braithwaite (Lucy/Lou); Shaun Dingwall (Frank/Tommy); Michael Elcock (George); Colm Gormley (John); Vinnie Heaven (Jack); Paul Hunter (Sheriff Roger Jones); Lucy McCormick (Jayne); Sophie Melville (Miss Lillian); Julian Moore-Cook (James); Emma Pallant (Sally-Ann); and LJ Parkinson (Charley Parkhurst). The role of Kid will be shared by Robert Addi, Aiden Cole and Alastair Ngwenya.


For tickets please go to: www.rsc.org.uk or call the Box Office: 01789 331111

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