Just Don’t Do It at Wandsworth Arts Fringe ‘19

A show about celibacy, sex and Jesus as a vagina (puppet!)comes to the Arches, Putney

Eleanor Young and Kate Mounce

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The only thing that theatre-makers Eleanor Young and Kate Mounce thought really mattered about being Christian was staying ‘pure’ - sexless until the big white wedding day. It’s a message that The Church can put across strongly at youth services. It took a long time for them to realise that there was much more depth to Christianity and their own personal faith.

Beside Ourselves Collective was formed with a mission to bring the truth about their shared faith to the stage through comedy and clowning. Based on the performers’ personal experiences of growing up in church, Just Don’t Do It shares insight into Christian sex education for girls and the damaging legacy of virginity obsession. Set in 1999 at a Christian summer camp, Mounce and Young play Trish and Tash, enthusiastic youth leaders attempting to deliver a powerful chastity sermon to the audience, who they cast as teenage girls. As the teaching becomes more extreme it’s clear they’re not on the same page. Tash’s repressive tactics and Trish’s anarchic streak butt heads and irreparable cracks appear in their relationship.

“Growing up I had somehow understood that what Jesus cared about most was my virginity.” - Creator & performer, Eleanor Young.

Just Don’t Do It has recently toured to theatre and churches across the country drawing new audiences from local churches into theatre venues. They aim to use their brand of comedy to disarm the fear around modern art in Christian communities and misconceptions around religion in the mainstream. They also want to empower women from faith backgrounds to talk openly about their experience of sexuality. Supported by Arts Council England and Wandsworth Grant Fund, they are running frank discussion forums on faith and sex alongside the performances.

"Loads of women have been left with a sense of shame about their sexuality because of what they heard in Church. Mainstream culture is much more comfortable with discussing female experiences and The Church has yet to catch up. This show is definitely a conversation starter."- Creator & performer, Kate Mounce.

Working with internationally acclaimed comedy artist Deanna Fleysher (Butt Kapinski, Director of Red Bastard) in her home town of Bellingham, WA, was a turning point for the company. Her unique approach to contemporary clowning allowed the performers to delve deep into the truth of their experiences and personal disagreements on the subject, and transform the material into absurd clown theatre. This enabled the artists to talk about the controversial topic of sex and religion within Christian contexts.

Beside Ourselves Collective are thrilled to be performing alongside funny women at WAF such as Elf Lyons (Fragility Takeover) and Nyla Levy (Does my bomb look big in this?, I’ll Say It Again festival). They’re proud to be representing feminists from a faith background, not afraid to laugh at themselves or to challenge the institutions they love.

Wandsworth Arts Fringe
Dates: 10th & 11th May
Venue: Takeover @ The Arches, Putney
Ticket Prices: £8/£6
Suitability 14+

May 7, 2019


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