SUFFRAGETTES, music hall artistes, maids and maiden ladies, pompous gentlemen and henpecked husbands crowd onto the stage at Studio Theatre next week for an evening of songs, sketches and playlets, a smidge of history and a smattering of music hall melodies.

A century after the landmark ruling giving women the right to vote, the amdram group is celebrating the songs and plays written by the Actresses Franchise League and some of their famous literary supporters, including Bernard Shaw and J M Barrie, in a bid to change British democracy forever.

Here Come The Girls, which runs at Studio’s Ashley Road theatre from March 15-17, will showcase the two one-act plays the group is entering into the Totton Festival of Drama the following week.

The show also includes appearances by suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett, widow of Salisbury-born MP Henry Fawcett, whose statue stands in the Market Square, the formidable Emmeline Pankhurst and Queen Victoria, who was not amused by any of it.

Lesley Bates, who has compiled the show, says: “Singing and speaking the lines written by women who helped change our democratic history has been fascinating and made us realise how much - and how little - certain attitudes have changed.”

Performances of Here Come The Girls start at 7.30pm and tickets at £10 (16s and under £8), are available from Salisbury Information Centre in Fish Row or online at

n Studio’s youth theatre group recently performed the schools edition of the musical Les Miserables to sell-out crowds. The show, directed by Peter McAuley, ran from February 19 until February 24.