Emily - an English-language nô

Ashley Thorpe, Richard Emmert (Composer)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


This English language Nô explores the legacy of Royal Holloway alumnus and suffragette Emily Wilding Davison's death. It is written for performance on the College's own Nô stage. Japanese Nô is a surprisingly apt dramatic form for exploring Wilding Davison's legacy. As she herself wrote in 1910 following a visit to the Japan-British Exhibition in London, "There is no doubt whatever that Japan is the pioneer of the Orient. [...] It is now running the most advanced nations of the West close in the matter of modern reform." Taking this statement as a point of departure, the Nô explores how Emily's death at the Epsom Derby in 1913 was subsumed into both 'masculinst' and 'feminist' historical narratives, despite the specific intentions behind her decision to enter the racecourse remaining obscure. Given that Wilding Davison's intentions may never be fully known, the Nô proffers a simple act of commemoration for all those involved in the incident - not only Emily herself, but two players who have been sidelined in the commentary, the jockey Herbert Jones, and the King's horse Anmer - to air the incident and lay their spirits to rest. The Nô is produced as a response to the College naming its library after Wilding Davison, and forms part of the Royal Holloway's Suffrage 2018 programme of events to mark 100 years since the extension of voting rights.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018

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