Toxic Masculinity explored in ‘Give Me Your Skin’

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 12:52pm

Critically-acclaimed theatre artists Tom Ross-Williams and Oonagh Murphy have announced the premiere of their latest show, Give Me Your Skin.

The show dramatises questions around how gender stereotypes shape our lives, looking at the future of gender, offering solutions and showing how feminism can be a powerful force for good in the lives of boys and men - and will be showing at Exeter's Bike Shed Theatre on 27/28 June.

In Give Me Your Skin, Ross-Williams and Murphy offer a fresh perspective on gender inequality, weaving together narratives of violence, intimacy and everyday conversations about misogyny. Their quest to help audiences resist modern masculinity at its most toxic is brought to life through a series of interactive parlour games that promise to entertain while posing important questions.

The two artists are known as much for their activism as their theatre work - in particular as campaigners for LGBT+ rights and gender equality. Give Me Your Skin marks a unique collaboration. Director Oonagh Murphy was compelled on stage by the necessity of a female presence in a show about masculinity and feminism. She is moving from behind the scenes for the first time in her career to perform alongside Ross-Williams.

Oonagh Murphy said about the project: “Tom and I are both passionate about how theatre can function as a space for ideas to be challenged and transformed. With Give Me Your Skin, we set out provocations about how gender stereotypes are damaging, how they lead to violent acts, to male suicide, to homophobia, to fascism. We take these big issues and we invite our audience to share the stage with us. The performance is structured as a series of parlour games — where the audience are asked to break the rules of gendered society.”

Tom Ross-Williams added: “It’s not good enough for us to be preaching to the converted. A huge effort on our part has been to develop this show in collaboration with the people we think these issues affect the most - for example, young men and women. We have run workshops with young people in the UK and Ireland and through this work we met Kieton Saunders-Brown, a young man who has become an integral part of the process. So much so that Give Me Your Skin has gone from a two-hander to a trio of performers, with Kieton joining us on stage.”

Written and performed by the pair who met while in university in Dublin over a decade ago, Give Me Your Skin is an intimate and playful performance about friendship, solidarity, coming out, finding your voice, and, in the face of mass global turmoil, being kind to one another as a radical act.

Female Arts Review
(on the work-in-progress at Camden People’s Theatre)
“In this piece Tom and Oonagh beautifully demonstrate the alternative...More than anything, it gave me the feeling of being listened to”


What: Give Me Your Skin - by Tom Ross-Williams and Oonagh Murphy

Where: The Bike Shed Exeter, 163 Fore Street, Exeter, EX4 3AT

When: 27 & 28 June, 7.30pm


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