Celebrating the Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

Emotionally it’s going to take you here, there and everywhere and leave you with a big smile on your face, says director Amy Hodge, director of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World.

Fantastically Great Women, Christina Modestou, Frances Mayli McCann, Eva-Marie Saffrey, credit Pamela Raith Photography
Fantastically Great Women, Christina Modestou, Frances Mayli McCann, Eva-Marie Saffrey, credit Pamela Raith Photography

“It has got beautiful moments of pathos and it is very funny. It has got lots of gags in it!

“And it is just really great to be putting these women’s stories absolutely at the heart of the show.”

Fantastically Great Women plays Chichester Festival Theatre from January 12-16, adapted from Kate Pankhurst’s award-winning books.

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    A brand new “kickass-pirational pop musical” and the follow-up show by the producer of the international hit musical Six, it began touring in the autumn, inviting you to join inquisitive heroine Jade as she breaks away from her class to take a peek behind the scenes at the not-yet-open Gallery of Greatness in the local museum. Along her journey she is surprised to meet the original and incredible Wonder Women: Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie and Emmeline Pankhurst to name just a few.

    From explorers to artists, scientists to secret agents, the show offers the chance to hear the stories of some of history’s strongest mothers, sisters and daughters, all independent icons who really did change the world.

    “The relationship with the show Six is really just that it is all really brilliant pop tunes in which you’ve got a female gesture right at the heart of it all,” says Amy. “It is about all these fabulous women from right across the board. And it really puts their story right at the centre.”

    And like Six, it runs straight through with no interval, lasting around 70 minutes: “It’s a real attack on your senses and you really will have the biggest smile as you sit there. It’s just about what’s right for the show and this is a show which really doesn’t need an interval. You just need to go right the way through!

    “It has been adapted from a series of books but there was no story linking them so we have constructed a story about this girl that goes into a gallery where she meets all these women. She is struggling with her own quest and she learns so much from what the women say. They’ve all had their own very different experiences. It’s a mixture really. You’ve got the complete spectrum, 12 of them all with very different backgrounds and very different lives so that each person is slightly nuanced.

    “With Rosa Parks it is a beautiful scene towards the end and a lot of her message is about how she was part of the team, that she was not the first person to sit on a bus, that it was about working together with others to make it all happen.

    “Frida Kahlo tells us about using your imagination and that there is no right or wrong in imagination. It is about expressing what is inside you. And we’ve also got Anne Frank. She doesn’t talk as much as the other characters, but she does appear. She is a remarkable figure who sees good in things.

    “We started thinking about doing the show before the lockdown and so we developed it during that time. We didn’t have a massive pause but the real impact on the show of Covid was losing dates in Liverpool when we were there. But there was a real feeling of community about the whole thing, that sense of being together. It is a very communal experience. We’re not going to pretend that there is a fourth wall. It’s about being together in the moment and celebrating these women.”