OffWestEnd talks to Maude about “Penny”, debuting at the Pleasance on 24th August 2021 – and there’s a special offer!

Maude is an ensemble-led company dedicated to pursuing complex, camp, and unusual theatre. We focus on new and devised works where we strive to cast our audiences as active agents within our performances.

Maude’s work is distinctly queer and unapologetically feminist: we’re drawn to undertold narratives that disturb and unsettle status quo storytelling.

What’s your debut show, Penny, all about?

Penny is personal. When Adelaide (a company member) was given a copy of Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey by her mother, it struck a chord. We wondered how women’s stories have been warped by being passed down from author to interpreter through the ages. Add to that the fact that Adelaide’s mum is called Penelope – the same name as Odysseus’s wife, famed as a paragon of virtue and patience – and we had ourselves the starting thread of a show.

Using Adelaide’s mother’s recordings of her own life story, we explore how women’s stories are inherited, passed down, traded, and what that all does to their value. Penny challenges the common misconceptions of the waiting woman, re-examines how we conceive of mothers, and asks how stories change when the women become the weavers.

In Penny we foreground the intimate relationship between us as performers and our subject matter as storytellers. Adelaide’s mom begins the show: we ring her live onstage, introduce her to the audience, and ask her permission to tell her story. Penny raises questions about authorship, (auto)biography, and authority, illuminating the perils of failing to shape stories from a feminist perspective.

Do you need to be an expert in Greek mythology to come and see it?

Not even a little bit! No prior knowledge required.

The whole point of the show is about how these stories grow, develop, and change over time. Our version of Greek mythology is kitschy, camp, and doesn’t take itself too seriously – think plastic mini Greek pillars and fabulous sequined tunics.

What should audiences expect from Penny?

Expect a bit of camp spectacle interwoven with intimate storytelling (and maybe some Polka dancing!). Our vision for Penny is to build an experience that is akin to an elaborate, homemade, slightly chaotic patchwork quilt. We want to invite audiences to wrap themselves up in the world of the show – one that is welcoming and maternal in all of the comforting, nurturing ways, but also in the challenging, unpredictable ways too.

Penny debuts at the Pleasance in Islington, starting on 24th August 2021.  SPECIAL OFFER – get a ticket for just  £10 – use code PennyOWE when booking via: