Review: A Room Of One’s Own at York Theatre Royal

I wasn’t sure quite what this performance would be. Based on two lectures given by Virginia Woolf in 1928, I knew that I would learn about the struggle of women writers to be published and accepted in Literature’s history. What I wasn’t expecting was the range of material and examples that Rebecca Vaughan referenced.

By Angie Millard

She took us through history, beginning with the segregation of the sexes in universities, particularly Oxford where inferior food was served to the women students while their male counterparts were sumptuously wined and dined. Many examples of male chauvinism were cited and Ms Vaughan put forward the modest premise that all a woman writer needed was to have an annual income of £500. 

Famous names play their part in Woolf’s theory beginning with the female playwright Aphra Benn. The fictitious persona of Judith Shakespeare is introduced as a way of demonstrating how her equally-talented brother William thrived while she was rejected. Jane Austen, The Bronte sisters and George Elliot all feature in the story. Poverty and poor education are the foundation of inequality and I wondered if that is not still the case today.

Rebecca Vaughan is a compelling advocate for female rights. She argues convincingly to demonstrate what we know in 2022 to be the truth. Women were oppressed and treated as inferior to their male counterparts; it still needs to be said. However, her varied multi-faceted performance strikes just the right note; witty, amusing but never self-righteous. Dyad Productions are appearing at Theatre 41 in a pre-Christmas ghost extravaganza. I shall certainly be in the audience!

A Room Of One’s Own, written and performed by Rebecca Vaughan, is being performed at York Theatre Royal from 6 to 7 October 2022.