The 1990s - Women

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Thatcher’s Women, an Australian premiere in 1990, showed the human price of Thatcherism when the economy in northern England was plummeting with the loss of factory jobs, but flourishing in the south.

The title refers to women who during school hours went to London by train to Kings Cross Station to work as prostitutes to pay their bills. In the play three women who try their luck in the two weeks before Christmas run into trouble from local prostitutes and police who fine them. Kay Adshead, who had worked in a Manchester pudding factory, wrote the play after seeing a TV talk program where the English Collective of Prostitutes had increased at Kings Cross with an influx of workers from the north. Directed by Alan Docker, the cast included his son Einar, Denise Stott and Jane Collingwood. Regular NT lighting designer Tony Youlden lit the show.

Lynda: If she’d have told me to go I would have done. Nobody told me it was her flamin’ pitch.

Norah: There’s nothing broken anyway.

Lynda: One minute I was standing there minding my own business, next minute the incredible hulk’s on top of me.

Norah: You’ll have a fat lip, mind.

Lynda: Vicious cow. I could have the law on her. If I’m marked that’s it – I might as well go home now and I’ve forked out £80 on this place already.

Another Australian premiere in 1990 was A Death in the Family by Sharon Pollock, its cast including Thais Alexis. A play about the Lizzie Borden murders, the original title Blood Relations had to be altered because a David Malouf play with the same title had just played in Sydney.

The subject of Pam Gems' Queen Christina , staged in 1990, was the Swedish monarch raised as a boy. The title role was played by Elaine Hudson , later a Life Member, in her first NT appearance.

Women On Stage directed by Robyn Davies was workshopped in 1993.

Dorothy Hewett’s autobiographical The Chapel Perilous was staged in 1994, as was Jigsaws by Australian journalist Jennifer Rogers.

Tasma Walton and Nicolle Dickson were in the cast of five, playing women spanning three generations.

In the 1990s the New was a supporter of the Older Women’s Network.

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