"Once upon a time" is getting a much needed makeover. The new play, HONEYPOT, examines familiar fairytales that echo this famous saying, questioning their core values through the lens of modern day womanhood. Challenging clichés and stereotypes, HONEYPOT redefines the stories we been told and presents a refreshing production, bound to empower and enthrall. After an overwhelming reception from adoring audiences, HONEYPOT is continuing their female-led and LGBTQ+ theatre sensation through live events, even during a global pandemic. Keep reading to learn how HONEYPOT continues to broaden the scope for theatre creation.
How would you describe HONEYPOT?
HONEYPOT is a brutally honest and comic retelling of famously tragic fairy tales. We replace ‘Once Upon a Time’ with ‘Once Upon an Instagram Timeline’ and divulge the unspoken ordeals of modern day womanhood.
How did you develop the play? What were your inspirations in creating this work?
The original aim when writing HONEYPOT was to create modern, meaty roles for women which demonstrate complexities of the female experience. It was in fact inspired by a lack of female-driven work and how female, fairytale characters are often depicted as a cliché. They constantly reappear in popular culture and audiences continue to love them, though in the majority of fairy tale retellings, the titular female characters somehow remain voiceless.
When developing HONEYPOT, we played with this clichéd idea of women by satirizing the ‘Male Gaze’ in the opening scene of the show. As the play progresses, our audience is forced to examine the impact this clichéd idea of women has on our characters; highlighting themes such as Gender Identity, Mental Health and Women's Welfare.
What has the reception from audience members been and what impact do you feel the show having?
We were overwhelmed by the positive response we received from the amazing audiences at HONEYPOT’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe premiere last summer. The main phrase we hear from audiences and reviewers after every performance is ‘GIRL POWER!’
We initially presumed HONEYPOT would be most popular among female audiences of a similar age to our cast (the HONEYPOT cast are in their late teens and twenties); it always gives us so much joy to see that audiences of all ages and genders resonate with HONEYPOT.
Our 2019 Ed Fringe team were thrilled to be invited to perform HONEYPOT at OffBeat Festival this year, but of course the 2020 summer festival in Oxford was postponed indefinitely. So, as well as celebrating female-led and LGBTQ+ theatre, another purpose of creating HONEYPRIDE Festival was to offer other emerging theatre companies the opportunity to perform pieces from productions which were cancelled or postponed earlier this year due to Covid-19.
What was the reaction to your recent HONEYPRIDE event? How was the energy during the celebration from the audience?
The audience’s incredibly warm reaction to HONEYPRIDE surpassed our expectations and reminded us why we do what we do. There truly is nothing like the buzz of live theatre!
We were also pleased to hear positive feedback from our audiences with regards to our Covid-19 health and safety precautions. We arranged an NHS Track and Trace QR Code, as well as sanitiser and PPE to be readily available for all participants. We ensured that participants congregated in groups no larger than six people. Everybody who attended HONEYPRIDE at The Scoop Amphitheatre respected our regulations and radiated positive energy for our performers.
What steps or actions can be taken in the theatre community to promote more female led and LGBTQ+ productions?
There is an astounding amount of female-led and LGBTQ+ productions being produced by small scale theatre companies for festivals such as Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Brighton Fringe, Camden Fringe and VAULT Festival. We would love to see this work being picked up by the Artistic Directors of non-fringe venues to prove that these stories deserve to be performed on a larger stage.
Audience members can also make a difference by choosing to support new-writing venues who produce female-led and LGBTQ+ productions.
We aim for our generation of theatre makers to combat gender and racial inequality within the arts; we are committed to making more roles for women and the LGBTQ+ community, both on and off stage.
Show your support: @honeypotplay