For the past year and half or so Sally Marie has had sex on the brain – artistically speaking, that is. The reason is ‘BEAUTiFUL,’ the name of the fourth full-length show that the acclaimed British performer turned choreographer and director has made for her company, Sweetshop Revolution.

BEAUTiFUL features five young female dances, and casts a penetrating spotlight on sex, love and desire in the 21st century, with a strong focus on how these are experienced by women. This year is the centenary of the female vote, but – as Weinstein, the #MeToo campaign, the BBC's recent pay-gap scandal and many other circumstances have readily demonstrated – inequality and the glass-ceiling still persist. It is this fractious and imbalanced social climate that ‘BEAUTiFUL’ will help to illuminate.

Although she has been described as ‘a national treasure,’ Marie's journey to get ‘BEAUTiFUL’ on its feet has not always been smooth: ‘Some people didn’t want me to make this show, but my determination won through. To me it seems so right that “BEAUTiFUL” exists, especially now when there’s a growing interest in what the piece has to say.

"At a time when the male gaze is still so dominant,’ Marie says, ‘I believe it’s more vital than ever for women to communicate “the female gaze” creatively. The five extraordinary performers plunge us into their private worlds, slicing through layers of elusive truths and false assumptions. Together we’ll be looking seriously and humorously – but always closely – at how women are objectified on stage and in the wider world.’

‘BEAUTiFUL’ arose from what Marie calls ‘a kind of light bulb moment’ when she was searching for fresh talent by conducting an audition. ‘I’d asked ten women who were there to each come up with a quick solo about someone they loved,’ she explains. "As they were dancing I begin to imagine a big wall of porn behind them – the endless, plastic depictions of women and the inherent lack of truth in all of that. It got me thinking, too, about how women in dance are portrayed, or portray themselves."

After that watershed moment Marie started talking to women whenever and wherever she could. ‘I heard extraordinary and yet perhaps unsurprising stories,’ she says. ‘There was an older woman who joined us for a day who said she remembers meeting women who’d been incarcerated all their lives due to becoming pregnant. Iit was this kind of control that society can exert over women that I wanted to challenge through my art.’

BEAUTiFUL will be at The Courtyard on Wednesday, February 21 at 7.30pm. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit