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Women on two wheels – freedom on a bicycle – tracked through stage show





It is sometimes said life imitates art, but often they are intertwined. Showing how a simple bicycle can become a vehicle for liberation, RedCape Theatre’s new show On Track celebrates women’s cycling and will no doubt inspire many to ride out on a new adventure too.

It will chime with the experience of Newbury’s own Women’s Ride Group, exploring the effects that isolation, particularly during the Covid lockdown, can have on mental health.

Local Newbury Road Cycling Club member Cassie Friend, who is also a writer, director and founder of Red Cape Theatre is bringing her one-woman play about cycling in lockdown and a history of women in cycling, to the Corn Exchange on Tuesday (March 7).

Cassie cycling
Cassie cycling

The show was originally conceived and performed by Cassie at The Hexagon, Reading, but she is directing this version.

It was during the pandemic that Cassie teamed up with the tiny cohort of NRC female members to establish the NRC Women’s Rides Group.

The rest, as they say, is history, as their rides became a favourite fixture in the ride schedule, women’s membership at NRC grew to 30 per cent and the club was awarded West Berkshire Community Group of the Year Award in 2021.

Cassie
Cassie

Writer Catherine Dyson draws on true stories, using RedCape’s trademark blend of comedy and visual, physical theatre to bring them to life.

Women on two wheels – freedom on a bicycle – is tracked through history in Cassie’s physical and comic new show – just as it became a symbol of female emancipation during Victorian times.

March 2020. Kit is a resourceful mother of two who thrives in a fast-paced world, but when lockdown hits, her world shrinks. With the walls closing in, two wheels become her sanctuary and her escape.

Cassie NRC
Cassie NRC

Statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) reveal a 56-per-cent boost in women’s cycling journeys over the course of 2020, compared to a 12-per-cent rise among men.

Reflecting on the dramatic increase in female cyclists over the course of 2022, On Track follows fictional character Kit, and her journey of discovery through the shocking history of women’s cycling.

‘Riding at night, disguised as men, these cycling pioneers powered over Victorian ideals of the genteel, house-bound woman and opened up new worlds.’

On Track will tour across women’s history month, and international women’s day (March 4-7), celebrating women’s cycling history in nine regional venues across Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Hampshire and the South West.

  • RedCape Theatre is run by artistic directors Cassie Friend and Rebecca Loukes and is company-in-residence at South Street Arts Centre.

They make and tour original plays, always starting from the point of a true story.

They are drawn to ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Their work is highly visual and physical and uses new writing.

Previous shows include The Idiot Colony, 1 Beach Road and Thunder Road.



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