I first met Jean and Shirley when I saw a Channel 4 documentary about them in 2008. JEAN and SHIRLEY decided to search for a safe, clean place for the GIRLS - a ‘perfect brothel’, determined to improve things for WORKING GIRLS began their Campaign to decriminalise prostitution. I approached JEAN and
SHIRLEY and suggested the notion of a Musical based
on their Campaign and they were delighted.
I spent time with several brothel Madames in Manchester,
Stockport and Southampton, meeting their WORKING
GIRLS and hearing their stories. It struck me that all the
WORKING GIRLS were holding down two or three other
jobs – supporting whole families, filling in for husbands
and partners, often disabled, unemployed or redundant.
I realised that the story of these WORKING GIRLS would
inter-twine powerfully with the story of the TWO W.I.
LADIES, as all of these women wanted the same thing:
the decriminalisation of Prostitution.
A safe place where women could work where drugs and crime would then fall away. This story about British is also about the choices one makes in life and the consequences one sometimes suffers as a result of choices made.
Money and greed also figure in the play as themes, as does loneliness. ‘These are lonely times we live in’ moans HOLLY – ‘No one talks to each other anymore – they’re too busy texting!’ The title ‘RUMPY PUMPY!’ came early - my way of wrapping up a complex subject and creating something fun, frothy, but with a gritty edge. I was inspired to take on this dark and difficult subject matter and make something digestible and entertaining. Always the best way to change hearts and minds.
Barbara Jane Mackie