IN the centenary year of some women being given the right to vote, Rebecca Lenkiewicz's poignant play, Her Naked Skin, explores the stories of the women behind the suffrage movement.

The playwright was keen to dispel the myth that all suffragettes were aristocratic ladies chaining themselves to fences, but that these were women from all classes and backgrounds.

Under Gareth Machin’s directorship, the play demonstrates the darker side of the suffragette movement – the protests, the violence some women were subjected to in and out of prison, the hunger strikes and the force-feeding of inmates.

It focuses on the lives of three women in particular. Jane How is well cast as the indomitable Florence Boorman, demonstrating her militancy in the face of adversity. Meanwhile, the love affair between middle class housewife Celia Cain and young factory worker Eve Douglas explores not only homosexuality but the class divide. Abigail Cruttenden displays Celia’s outward strength yet inner torment convincingly while Lorna Fitzgerald brings a loveable innocence and honesty to her character Eve.

The dimly lit stage with prison wall backdrop and smashed windows creates an oppressive mood. The cast use the revolving stage effectively to flip between the prison scenes and the outside world.

This is a thought-provoking and incredibly moving production and particularly significant in this centenary year.

The play continues at Salisbury Playhouse until October 20. For tickets or more information go to or call 01722 320 333.