The Fanny Hill Project

  • Play
  • 4:05pm (55 mins)
  • 2-26 Aug 2013
  • Zoo
  • 8
The Fanny Hill Project. Copyright: BBC.

Show details

Play performed on the following days in August 2013...

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Fanny's got a story to tell. But she can't seem to find the right words. Luckily John is here and, with the audience's help, he is going to tell it just right. As pop culture and John Cleland's 18th-century porno Fanny Hill collide, TheatreState ask how far we've really come. The Fanny Hill Project is a wicked satire on the representation of women in the media. Fast-rising TheatreState bring their unique sense of irreverence and fun to the Fringe. They have also made work for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Yard, Camden People's Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith.

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Full press release

Fanny has got a story to tell. But she can't seem to find the right words. Luckily John is here and, with the audience's help, he's going to tell it just right.

In 2010, a founding member of London based TheatreState found herself selling her feet to fetishists in order to fund an arts internship and she felt a long way from empowered.

Then she discovered Fanny Hill, the infamous eighteenth century story of a young woman who stumbles across prostitution and loves it. The novel by John Cleland was written using Fanny's confessional voice and titillates the male reader with descriptions of Fanny's body whilst attempting to promote prostitution as a fantastic opportunity for Fanny to explore her sexuality.

Putting Cleland's 350 year old porno down, TheatreState got to thinking. How much has changed about the way in which women are represented in the media? Looking at the bawdy newspapers around them, TheatreState considered whether we have moved on at all since the publication of the 'first original English prose pornography'. In The Fanny Hill Project, TheatreState rip apart the titillating costume drama to explore what goes on behind the scenes of our hypersexualised media. In a supposedly equal society, TheatreState ask: whose voice, and whose agenda, is behind the stories we read in the papers?

The Fanny Hill Project is a wickedly funny, irreverent and disarming piece of theatre. With microphones, gold bikinis, Destiny's Child and a whole lot of footsanitiser, TheatreState's take on Fanny Hill is a mash up of pop culture, news reports and eighteenth-century porn.

TheatreState invites the audience to delve into the mania of the media and examine why we are bombarded with peculiar, fantasy images of women. Originally developed at The West Yorkshire Playhouse as part of Transform, the production has been inspired by interviews with young women aged 13 - 18 and journalists including Hadley Freeman and Sarah Ditum, The Guardian, Kevin Maguire, The Mirror and Equality Now (who spoke at the Leveson Enquiry on the representation of women in the press). And a few weird MPs after five pints too many at the Houses of Parliament's Bar.