Non-binary Joan of Arc play causes a stir as critics turn to depiction of cultural icon | Ents & Arts News

A new Globe Theater production on the life of Joan of Arc will see the legendary French heroine transformed into a non-binary character.

The historical figure is known for fearlessly leading the French into battle against English soldiers during the Hundred Years War.

London theater bosses say the play, I, Joan – which traces the life of the French patron saint – “will offer the possibility of another point of view” when it arrives later this month.

The main role will be played by Isobel Thom, who also uses the pronouns “they/them”.

“For centuries, Joan has been a cultural icon portrayed in countless plays, books, films, and more. said Michelle Terry, artistic director of The Globe.

“History has provided countless wonderful examples of Jeanne being portrayed as a woman. This production simply offers the possibility of another point of view.

“That’s the role of theatre: simply asking the question ‘imagine if?’.”

However, people have taken to social media to express their anger over the decision.

Sophie Walker tweeted: “When I was a little girl, Joan of Arc offered exciting possibilities of what a young girl could do against massive ranks of men. Rewrite her as not being a woman and the Presenting it as progress is a huge disappointment.”

Journalist Allison Pearson wrote: “When I was a child I had a book about inspiring women throughout history. Joan of Arc was one of them. This book and these incredible women meant a lot to a shy little girl .How dare @The_Globe try to undo inspiring women in history.”

Despite the outcry, many support the decision.

One fan tweeted: “Love this idea! Writers and scholars have spoken of Joan as a gender-conforming person, who might have identified as trans or non-binary and had lived today, for decades. I mean, the formal reason for Joan’s execution was their insistence on cross-dressing.”

And radio presenter Natasha Devon posted: “You know you can just watch one of the many productions where Joan of Arc isn’t non-binary, or Anne Boleyn isn’t played by a black woman, n ‘is this not?”

Ms Terry defended the Globe’s production, adding: “Theatres produce plays, and in plays anything can be possible.

“Shakespeare didn’t write historically accurate plays. He took characters from the past to ask questions about the world around him.

“Shakespeare wasn’t afraid of discomfort, and neither was the Globe.”

A statement on the Globe’s website claimed it was “committed to becoming an inclusive and diverse organization” willing to make “necessary changes”.

“We aim to create a culture and environment in which everyone’s experience at Shakespeare’s Globe is equal, inclusive and fair,” he said.

I, Joan is set to run from August 25 to October 22.

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