The Suffragettes and the White Feather movement are major parts to British history.
Without the suffragettes, us ladies wouldn’t be able to do half of the things we can do now. We can vote, we can be doctors, we can be teachers, we can do anything in order to make our society a more equal one.
‘First of the Feathers’ is a play set in 1918 which was written by Canterbury Christ Church English student Leah Hockley, who at just 20 years old, had her first play performed in November this year at the Being Human festival on the Folkestone Leas Bandstand.
In an interview with this talented young writer, she told me that she takes a huge interest in the feminism topic, and the way she expresses her feminist views is through her work, with the ‘First of the Feathers’ hopefully being the first of many successful plays.
“I wanted to look at the suffragette movement and how we normally see them as national heroes, but is that necessarily true?”
The play was told from the perspective of a young suffragette. In doing it this way, it helps the audience better understand the motives the suffragette women had during this political movement.
This young woman was part of both movements, including the White Feather Movement, in which women handed men a white feather if they refused to go to war, labelling them as cowards.
Uploaded by The Canterbury Hub on 2018-12-14.
“We had a few young boys there as well that were part of the play and they were giving their own reasons behind why men might not have gone to war.”
There were many reasons as to why men would refuse to go to the war. From having health problems, to not believing in the war at all. Another reason why she wrote this play was so the audience get to see the other side to what history has told us. We get told that the men who didn’t go to war are cowards, but what are the real reasons?
The play raises questions we may not have asked ourselves before now. Are the suffragette’s real heroes? Or are they people fighting for their rights but in the completely wrong way?
‘First of the Feathers’ helps us to refresh what we know about this movement and to remember that regardless of what these women may have achieved, they weren’t so innocent
Not only was the play so successfully written, but according to Leah herself, everything ran smoothly on the day.
“I have had quite a lot of good feedback, thankfully.”
It was an amazing turn out for the aspiring writers first performance, with her family and friends there providing her with support. Along with lecturers and ambassadors of the university.
“There were a lot of people that stopped to watch it while they were walking along the Leas. That was quite flattering because they had no idea what was going on so it was nice that they were interested.”
I’m guessing we should remember the name Leah Hockley, as this definitely isn’t the last you will hear of her. You heard it here first; she is currently working on another piece of work, which again is on the topic of feminism but this time about the women in Shakespearian times.
So, not only is history being told in such a way but it’s being told by a young student clearly wise beyond her years and I personally am looking forward to seeing what else she has in store.