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Warwick Arts Centre preview: Petticoat Council

Petticoat Council, Warwick Arts Centre, June 15-17 (and then other venues see below).

By Peter Walters

In 1949 a group of housewives took control of the Parish Council in their home village of Bishops Itchington in south Warwickshire.

It was the first majority female council in the UK, breaking down barriers and bringing about change and hope in the wake of the devastation of World War Two, and now their pioneering achievement is being celebrated in Petticoat Council, a new folk musical by Leamington-based writer Frankie Meredith.

Using modern folk music, dance and storytelling, the production is touring venues in Warwickshire and Coventry in June, before embarking on a wider Midlands tour in the autumn. It's being brought to the stage by Steph Hartland Productions, which focuses on championing female and regional voices, and its all-female cast includes a great-niece of one of the original pioneers.

Writer Frankie Meredith said: "I've been musing over this idea for a play since I was 12, when I first heard about the group of women the play is based on. But it's now that the story feels most relevant and must be told.

"This story, of these women, didn't happen in a city. It happened in a place you wouldn't expect and from women you wouldn't expect to start a revolution." Petticoat Council moves to Bishops Itchington Community Centre June 18; Cheylesmore Community Centre on June 19; Great Alne Park on June 23; WarwickSpace, June 25; Jephson Gardens, Leamington, June 27.

Tickets for Warwick Arts Centre from

and for the other venues from

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