Split Britches was founded in 1980 by Peggy ShawLois Weaver, and Deb Margolin in New York City.

Since then we've created work out of a feminist, democratic DIY aesthetic, performing our first pieces at the WOW Café in NYC, which we co-founded. From the scrappy, performance-making below the poverty line, downtown NY theatre scene, we've become two of the foremost figures in queer performance art and lesbian identity. Today our work is internationally recognized and has been the recipient of several prestigious grants and awards, including Doris Duke, US Artists, Guggenheim, and the Wellcome Trust.

 

Our work spans theatre, live-art, solo performance, workshops, digital media, models for public conversation and published texts, and has been presented in a wide range of contexts around the world.

 

We create new forms by exploiting old conventions. Our work borrows from classical texts and popular myths, but its true sources are the details of everyday life. We use popular culture as a mode of communication, like the vaudevillian comedy double act or the relationships in A Streetcar Named Desire, taking existing forms and cracking them open to queer and personalize them. The work is personal, bordering on the private. It relies on moments rather than plot, relationships rather than story. As we've aged, our work has focused on tapping into the unexplored potential in elders and people with disabilities. Our practice has grown to include dialogic engagement methods as an intrinsic part of the creation and presentation of performances.

 

It is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics – feminist because it encourages the imaginative potential in everyone, and lesbian because it takes the presence of a lesbian on stage as a given.

 

Since our inception, Split Britches have been committed to working with women, women of color, and LGBTQ+ communities. This has manifested nationally (e.g. founding WOW Café in NY; work in domestic abuse safe houses in upstate NY; collaboration with indigenous and mixed communities in MN) and internationally (e.g. working in women’s prisons in Brazil and the UK; and at the Taiwan women’s festival). Our accessible yet radical performances and workshops consist of a larger, lifelong project to facilitate communication, wellness, and positive social change.

Visit the archive for more information on previous shows.