Temples of Minerva
100th Anniversary of Women’s’ Suffrage
February 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act – 1918, which allowed (some) women the right vote and stand for parliament.
To celebrate this important historical achievement, Butterfly Psyche Theatre have been commissioned by Bath Preservation Trust to create a special performance at No.1 Royal Crescent as part of their #100YearsofSuffrage celebrations across all four museums.
Taking place at the Bath home of Elizabeth Monatagu, (known as The Queen of the Bluestockings) Temples of Minerva explores an unlikely meeting between Elizabeth and the famous Bath Suffragette, Mary Blathwayt.
In this ‘what if’ situation, the political and social constraints of Georgian and Edwardian eras met as these two brilliant women consider how they each navigate the social and political landscapes of their time.
Temples of Minerva is written by Alison Farina and will be performed by Katy Jane as Elizabeth Montagu and Elizabeth Crarer as Mary Blathwayt.
Live performances will be held at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm on Saturday February 10th and are included in the entry fee to the Museum.
Each performance will have a Q&A afterwards reflecting upon the discussions in the performance, how far Equality has come in 200 years and how far we still need to go.
Katy Jane – Elizabeth Montagu
Katy Jane is a Bath-based actress working on various projects locally and beyond! She has the pleasure of working regularly for The Natural Theatre Company in their various comedy character scenarios and has also recently performed as holocaust survivor Eva Schloss in And Then They Came For Me (Moondog Productions). Further theatre credits include ‘A Winter’s Trail’ (Hoodwink Theatre), ‘More Pride, More Prejudice’ (Natural Theatre). Katy also enjoys performing for camera and her most recent feature was ‘I Am The Prize’, shot in Bristol and her most recent short was Pale Moonlight Pictures’ ‘Know Harm’. Katy is passionate about telling stories that enable the audience to see the world through somebody else’s eyes. She is really excited to be working with Butterfly Psyche and Bath Preservation Trust on this important project celebrating women.
Elizabeth Crarer – Mary Blathwayt
Stage credits include: Matilda the Empress , Reading Between the Lines Theatre Company; Hamlet, Othello, both the Watermill Theatre; Emily: the making of a militant suffragette, The Production Exchange; The Disappearance of Sadie Jones, in association with the Bike Shed Theatre; Bronte, Shared Experience; Charley’s Aunt, Manchester Royal Exchange; Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Theatre Royal Haymarket; The Applecart, The Browning Version, both Theatre Royal Bath. TV/film credits include: Midsomer Murders and Law & Order: UK.
Directing credits include: No Petticoats Here, Louise Jordan in association with The Heroine Project Presents; Over The Top, The Heroine Project Presents; The Red Shoes and Suffragette City, YMT:UK. Assistant directing credits include: We’re here because we’re here Salisbury Playhouse in association with the National Theatre; Triptych, YMT:UK. Movement directing credits: Pacifists and Protesters, The Gloucester Theatre Company. Elizabeth is also a member of The Natural Theatre Company, which specialises in outdoor and site-specific performance.
Elizabeth Montagu – Queen of the Bluestockings
Elizabeth spent time with relatives in Cambridge as a young girl and it is believed to have been in that city that she was introduced to classical literature and history, as well as an environment that encouraged lively discussion.
In 1742 she married Edward Montagu and the following year their son John was born. Tragedy struck when young John died in 1744. Elizabeth never recovered from the loss of her son, and she often spent time in Bath and Tunbridge Wells taking the waters. In 1777 Elizabeth lived at no.16 Royal Crescent.
Her reputation as a hostess of literary breakfasts and large evening gatherings grew throughout the 1760s. Card playing and heavy drinking were banned at her parties, in favour of intellectual conversation and debate similar to the salons of Europe. At her parties like-minded men and women were encouraged to discuss literature, philosophy and the arts.
At the heart of these events were a group of women who referred to themselves as the bluestocking philosophers. They were committed to the right of both men and women to an education and supported each other’s intellectual and artistic works.
Mary Blathwayt – Bath Suffragette
Mary Blathwyat moved to Eagle House in Batheaston with her parents in 1882 and was educated at Bath High School. She was actively involved in the literary and scientific groups in the city and in 1906 attended her first meeting of the Bath Women’s Suffrage Society.
By 1908 she was treasurer of the Bath branch of the militant Women’s Social and Political Party working on suffrage propaganda. Between 1908-1909 she was living in Bristol with Annie Kenney, the party’s West of England organiser.
Her parents opened up Eagle House to suffragettes needed to recuperate from imprisonment and exhausting speaking schedules. Visiting women started planting trees in the garden at the house, often in memory of a fellow suffragette, and the area soon became known as Annie’s Arboretum (after Annie Kenny) or the Suffragettes field.
As the actions of the party became more violet Mary and her mother became less involved, but Eagle House remained open to Suffragettes in need of refuge. May lived at Eagle House in Batheaston until her death in 1961.