The Town Hall Affair

The Wooster Group

Image shows two women with long hair leaning against each other and singing

From New York’s iconic theatre group comes a ‘timely and time-bending mixed-media piece’ (New York Times), channeling a raucous 1971 debate on women’s liberation that still reverberates today.

In front of an audience of literary heavyweights gathered at New York’s Town Hall, pugnacious American novelist Norman Mailer squares up against a panel of prominent feminist advocates including Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston and Diana Trilling. The occasion is captured in the documentary Town Bloody Hall.

The Town Hall Affair, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, features extended clips from the film and revisits that explosive night with Enver ChakartashAri FliakosGreg Mehrten, Erin MullinScott ShepherdMaura Tierney and Kate Valk playing the real-life participants onstage. Layered with additional text and footage, The Town Hall Affair draws on experimental techniques to delve into the revolutionary fervour of 1970s’ feminist thinking, and lets us consider who we were then and who we have become.

Duration: 1 hour 5 mins, no interval
Age guidance: 14+

22 June
Post-show talk, free to same-day ticket holders

Part of our 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explores how artists respond to, reflect and can potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.

Presented by the Barbican. Made possible by support from piece by piece productions

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Who were the figures championing the feminist cause that night in New York?


‘Swift and vivid … a delight … somehow after all the show’s knock-out blows, you leave feeling lighter on your feet‘
‘Its timeliness can be read in its attempt to understand history unfolding, the evolution of feminism, and its continuities, failures, ruptures and successes.‘
‘'Johnston represents a defiance and disavowal of male gaze and opinion that calls on organisation, radical collaboration and political defiance' ‘

Part of The Art of Change

Our 2018 season explores how the arts respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape.


Play button icon
two actors from the Wooster Group on stage

Watch: Kate talks about Jill

Kate talks about Jill in this video exploring the themes and characters in the Wooster Group's 'The Town Hall Affair'.

Play button icon
close-up shot of Greg Mehrten

Watch: Greg Mehrten on Diana Trilling

Greg Mehrten talks about Diana Trilling in this video exploring the themes and characters in the Wooster Group's 'The Town Hall Affair'.


Barbican Theatre