This weekend there is a show in London that you may want to check out if you have an interest in comedy, cabaret and the history of periods. Armed with glitter, blood, some history books and an arsenal of embarrassing stories, in this one woman show, Heather is on a mission to push through the menstrual taboo and change the way we think about bleeding. Period Dramas takes place on the 27th February at 14:20 and 17:00 at The Other Palace, I caught up with Heather to find out all about it.
Hello tell us all about who you all are and three unknown facts about yourself
Hi, I’m Heather and I am an actor, writer and theatre-maker, as well as a very clumsy cat lover and history nerd.
Three unknown facts about myself are that I have a Harry Potter lightening bolt scar hidden on my chin, I’m obsessed with garlic bread and I love being in/near water.
How did the show come about?
I first started thinking about the show, way back when I was studying History at uni. My whole life I’d been very confused as to why period dramas weren’t actually about periods, and I was wondering around campus with some friends when we were like why don’t we make a TV series that’s basically pride and prejudice, but everybody just starts bleeding. That never happened, but flash forward a few years and combine some frustration at the lack of discussion of all things menstrual in the history books, and I found myself with the opportunity to create a personal research piece at drama school. This coincided with me moving to London and getting into the cabaret and drag scene for the first time, and I developed a drag act based on the rumour that Elizabeth I died when she was ten and was replaced by the Boy of Bisley. This act is still in the show, and it was from this that the rest of the piece grew as a comedic cabaret piece all about the history of menstruation, with each act focussing on a different period in time.
How much research into the history of periods have you actually had to do for the show?
A lot! I really wanted this piece to be rooted in the facts and to actually share a history of how people dealt with their periods. Some periods of history have been much more difficult to tackle than others, and it’s certainly been a challenge to try and uncover the practicalities of periods past, as well as how people thought about them!
What is the most interesting thing you have discovered?
Oooh there’s so much to choose from! Probably the Ancient Egyptian beliefs about periods – because there was way more information on that period of time than I ever would have expected, and they had their own ways of dealing with period pain, which I absolutely love.
Tell us a little bit about the show that is happening this week?
Period dramas is a comedic cabaret show all about the history of menstruation. It’s a chaotic romp back through time – think Horrible Histories meets Bryony Kimmings and Phoebe-Waller Bridge.
Have you ever wondered how people in the past dealt with their periods? If Queen Victoria coasted* through her cramps? And what if period dramas really were about … periods?
Comedy, cabaret and tap collide in this hilarious one-woman show, teaching the history you never learnt at school. Armed with glitter, blood, some history books and an arsenal of embarrassing stories, Heather is on a mission to push through the menstrual taboo and change the way we think about bleeding. Audiences are invited to embrace themselves fully, let loose and have a BLOODY good time!
*Obviously she didn’t. It was 1837.
Tell us about the team involved in the show?
I’ve been so lucky to work with an amazing team – Jessy Roberts, my director, who is amazing in everything she does, Josh Myers, our musical director/composer, who has continually put up with the chaotic way in which I write songs, and then the wonderful Ruth Phillips, our movement director, the super talented Danny Vavrečka, our lighting designer, and our fantastic associate producer, Grace Plant.
What three things are you looking forward to about performing in this show?
The chaos, the sense of celebration and having a laugh with the audience.
How do you warm up before a show?
Playing Yo! With my amazing director. And tyring not to freak out.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
You can find out more about me on @HeatherMilsted on Instagram and Twitter, or via my website here HOME | Heather Milsted and you can keep up to date with the show on @PeriodDramass
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Chaos, Blood, History.