GIVE ME YOUR SKIN
GIVE ME YOUR SKIN
by Tom Ross-Williams & Oonagh Murphy
Smashing the patriarchy too much like hard work?
It doesn't have to be.
Queer performance makers Tom and Oonagh offer an alternate vision of gender and posit concrete solutions that liberate boys and men. Give Me Your Skin is a participatory show where parlour games meet feminism in a quest to resist masculinity at its most toxic.
Written and performed by the pair who met over a decade ago, this is a playful and intimate performance about solidarity, coming out, finding your voice, and, in the face of mass global turmoil, being kind to one another as a radical act.
Men cannot change if there aren't blueprints for change - bell hooks
Developed with support from Arts Council England, Battersea Arts Centre, Shoreditch Town Hall, Old Vic New Voices, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Mermaid Arts Centre and Camden People’s Theatre
Give Me Your Skin Premiered at the Battersea Arts Centre in June 2017
Touring Venues included Marlborough Theatre, Brighton & The Bike Shed (opening show of the Boat Shed Festival in Exeter)
Work-in-progress performances at BAC, Mermaid Arts Centre (Ireland) and Camden People's Theatre (as part of Calm Down Dear Festival)
The magic of this performance is that it can shift that nebulous feeling of a problem which seems insurmountable into micromasteries of action. This is not a show which is shouting at the audience that there’s an emergency and someone should definitely do something. This show is calmly saying that there are steps we could all take to understand each other better and we ALL might actually benefit from them... Their engagement with the audience is brisk but warm and their enthusiasm is infectious. The show has a serious message but it’s not just plonked in our lap for us to deal with, it’s measured out in games and friendly audience interaction. It’s a seriously fun show... This is a show that connects... people will be at once charmed by its playfulness and surprised by its depth. - LGBTQ ARTS REVIEW ***** (to read full review please click here)
My partner and I talked about Give Me Your Skin for a solid hour after we left The Boat Shed, which in itself should qualify Tom Ross-Williams and Oonagh Murphy’s engagingly rebellious show as a success. The show covers an immense amount of ground in a short space of time; every angle you turn it, something glittery and new is revealed. This is a shotgun approach to smashing the patriarchy, a broad scattering of gameshow-style contests, personal anecdotes, musical theatre, conspiracy theories, manifestos, confessions, and arguments. The interactive games in Give Me Your Skin are great fun and well considered. Cameron Macaulay’s catchy stings work with Sherry Coenen’s low-tech, glitzy lighting to make something warmly ironic and home-made enough to get people willingly onstage. The games themselves are simple enough so that the contest doesn’t overshadow the political content... Much of what Ross-Williams and Murphy point out in Give Me Your Skin isn’t meant to shock us, it’s meant to remind us... It’s easy to engage with Ross-Williams and Murphy’s gentle but honest relationship and Kieton Brown-Saunders’ playful, cheeky asides, and there’s a feeling in the space of warmth, openness, and respect. I wonder how the show changes if it gets a more hostile crowd, if it feels less like preaching to the choir, but I’m glad I got to experience it in that space and with those people. And by ‘preaching to the choir’, that’s not to say if you agree with the politics in Give Me Your Skin that it doesn’t still provoke, question, renew – even the choir needs to listen to the sermon sometimes - EXEUNT (doesn't do star ratings)
In this piece Tom and Oonagh beautifully demonstrate the alternative... More than anything, it gave me the feeling of being listened to
FEMALE ARTS **** (on the work-in-progress at Camden People's Theatre)
Photography by James Booth
Give Me Your Skin in The Press
Performers: Tom Ross-Williams, Oonagh Murphy and Kieton Browne-Saunders
Dramaturgy: Lucy Wray
Lighting Design: Sherry Coenen
Production Manager / Stage Manager: Christopher Silvester
Sound Design & Composition: Cameron Macaulay
Producer: Sophie Nurse
PR: Munch Media
A key part of Give Me Your Skin were the community workshops which both complemented and informed the show. Over the course of the development and performances we worked with young people from youth theatres, schools and community groups.
Many of the games in the show were trialled and developed in these workshops. And we even found our additional performer, Kieton Saunders-Browne, in a workshop we were doing with Theatre Royal Stratford East young company. In this way, we hoped to dismantle the traditional hierarchy between the artistic process and community engagement.
The workshops used a community organising approach to enable young people to make concrete change in their local area. Workshops inspired changes in schools' gender policies and actions in the community to challenge gender stereotypes.
Groups we worked with included: BAC Homegrown Company, Theatre Royal Stratford East Young Company, East Worthing Community Group: BluePrint 22, Brighton College, Exeter College and & West Exe School.