Essential Information

Type Evenings & Lates
Date and Times Throughout March | See page for details
Prices Adult £10.00 Concessions £6.00 Members £8.00

Members £8.00. Not a member? Join now

Join us for Women's History Month this March as we discover the untold histories of female pirates and trailblazers through the ages.

Drawing on the knowledge of writers, performers and academics involved, we look at the pioneers who forged their own future in an overwhelmingly male-dominated society.

The series of talks sheds new light on female pirates and gender non-conforming histories within the navy. These include the exploits of Ching Shih – the most successful pirate in history – and the life of William Brown  – said to be the first Black woman in the Navy, all of whom pushed gender and sexual boundaries on the high seas.

The programme kicks off with a screening of Matriarchs, a drama by writer and biographer Anne Chambers. This production centres around the meeting of the Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley and the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I in 1601.

Find out more about each talk below. 

Women's History Month talks


Wednesday 2 March | 7-8pm

The premiere screening of MATRIARCHS: The Pirate Queen and The Virgin Queen.

Written and directed by ANNE CHAMBERS, Grace O'Malley's biographer, MATRIARCHS is based on the meeting in Greenwich Palace in 1593 between Grace O'Malley and Queen Elizabeth I. 

It brings together two iconic female leaders, each imbued with a lifetime of experience and knowledge and who in their pioneering roles as powerful leaders have breached the boundaries of male power and bias.

But now in their declining years both women are experiencing the negativity, doubts and fears of growing old.

International focus on gender imbalance, female empowerment and ageism make the themes in this play resonate for women everywhere today.

Anne Chambers reveals the extraordinary life of Grace O'Malley

The Pirate Queen: Ching Shih — The most successful pirate in history

Wednesday 9 March | 7-8pm

A red triangular flag with a black skull and crossbones

This week we will discuss the incredible achievements of the Chinese pirate Ching Shih.

Speakers: Dian Murray, Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Origin of the Tiandihui: The Chinese Triads in Legend and History, in collaboration with Qin Baoqui, and Pirates of the South China Coast, 1790-1810.

Do it “Like a Dude”: Gender-bending in the Navy

Tuesday 15 March | 6.30pm-7.30pm

Anne Jane Thornton PAD3045

Learn about the extraordinary lives of those such as William Brown (said to be the first Black woman in the Navy), Anne Jane Thornton and John Taylor Foot (Mary Anne Talbot) whose stories challenge the constructions of gender and reveal untold women and gender non-conforming histories within the navy.  

Wed 23 March | 7-8 pm (details TBC)

Main image: Mary Read, The Duel, from the Pirates of the Spanish Main series for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes

What’s On

Find more events online. See everything that is happening