© 2013

A Good Night Out for the Girls

Popular Feminisms in Contemporary Theatre and Performance

  • Authors

Part of the Performance Interventions book series (PIPI)

About this book


Moving across the boundaries of mainstream and experimental circuits, from the affective pleasures of commercially successful shows such as Calendar Girls and Mamma Mia! to the feminist possibilities of new burlesque and stand-up, this book offers a lucid and accessible account of popular feminisms in contemporary theatre and performance.


Feminism and performance Contemporary Performance Affect experiment family feminism girls theatre Utopia women work

About the authors

ELAINE ASTON and GERALDINE HARRIS are theatre professors based at Lancaster University, UK. Elaine's publications include Feminist Views on the English Stage (2003) and Caryl Churchill (3rd edition, 2010). Geraldine's previous publications include Staging Femininities (1999) and Beyond Representation: The Politics and Aesthetics of Television Drama (2006). Together they have co-edited Feminist Futures: Theatre, Performance, Theory (2006) and co-authored Performance Practice and Process: Contemporary [Women] Practitioners (2008).

Bibliographic information


“It offers very personal accounts from both Aston and Harris as to their own experiences both as feminist scholars and performance spectators, making this a valuable addition to the fields of feminist studies and performance studies. … The personal, woman-centred tone deftly reflects the complex nature of the theoretical positions, performances and audiences being discussed.” (Cath Badham, Platform Postgraduate Journal of Theatre Arts, Vol. 10 (1), 2016) 

'Elaine Aston's and Geraldine Harris's A Good Night Out For the Girls offers timely and theoretically savvy explications of the feminist potential within a surprisingly eclectic array of traditionally mainstream performance genres...Their introduction is an account of the field of feminist performance scholarship, and a pointed assessment of the challenges inherent to this historic moment when concrete definitions of feminism are elusive; it is indispensable to any study of feminist theatre.' - Christine Woodworth, Broadside: A Newsletter of the Theatre Library Association

'From two of the most accomplished and inspiring critics in the field of theatre and performance studies comes this book about popular entertainment and performance for women... Arising from this book is a renewed sense of the feminist possibilities of performance to connect with the lived experience of an audience, and to repair the fragmentation of women's experience in the creation of enjoyment. The community of audience in the process of connection and response to the show on stage becomes an image of possible solidarity between women in the world outside the theatre. How this energy and joy operated in the wider social and political world is not within the authors' realm of analysis, but the theatre or performance space as a space of "impossible possibilities" is affirmed. The book itself reflects a sense of potential; it is stimulating, scholarly and highly enjoyable to read.' - Catherine Leeney, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English

'Although it contains discussion and analyses of a large variety of performances, the multifarious character of A Good Night Out for the Girls provides an extraordinary account of contemporary popular theatre and performance and it should become essential reading for those interested both in popular feminism and in having a great night out (or in) with the girls.' - Carmen Szabo, Theatre Research International