The Hiccup Project is back and this time Cristina and Chess are challenging themselves to the max with one of the biggest and hottest topics of the day.

Repeated references to the two of them as ‘lovely girls’ or ‘the lovely Hiccup girls’ and the recognition, as they delivered workshops to students, that girls are struggling with how to be in the world, struggling to find their place in it, and struggling to work out what is expected of them, led to their latest work, Lovely Girls.

Deep into rehearsals for the tour, which comes to Hereford on April xx, Cristina acknowledges that it’s an enormous subject to tackle.

“I think we are starting to understand the reality of that, to have opened up such a big subject, such a complex subject in so many ways,” says Cristina. “And some people are almost worried for us as we take it on, and they’re telling us not to make it too preachy or too pretentious. And that’s interesting as we’ve never had that before.”

Explaining how they get from concept to finished show, Cristina says that ‘it always starts way before we are in the studio,” as it did with Lovely Girls, as their consciousness of the issues began to heighten. “We have seen a lot of young women over the years and they seem to consistently struggle on a number of levels. We’d see it over and over again

We had some interesting conversations with students lots of things came up, like not doing certain exercises because they felt we’d be judging them, or not wanting to take their socks off because their feet were gross – these were things that had been drilled into them from a really young age, and they were young intelligent women with so much potential.

We just saw it in so many ways and so repeatedly and it got to us. And I got to thinking ‘what was I like at that age? Has it changed? Was I the same?

We both agreed that things had got more challenging in certain areas because of social media. We were both really engaged with thinking about what we have to do because it’s expected of us and because we have learned that’s what women do. It brought up so many interesting questions for us.

All of that, in tandem with being introduced as the ‘lovely Hiccup girls’ – they are in fact, the Hiccup Project, sparked a work that will undoubtedly prompt a strong reaction. “We are often called that, and it makes me feel infantilised and I have to metaphorically climb a ladder to then run a workshop because I have been introduced like that.”

It’s brining up really interesting ideas about how women need to be validated, how women need to be seen and heard. But what does that mean? We are bringing ourselves into it more and more now – in the past shows we started with ourselves and went out from there. With Lovely Girls we started out and we’re going in …”

“Its brought up some really challenging things for us, making us think, and presenting us with lots of contradictions. It’s as if there were tectonic plates beneath us, always shifting the perspective. It changed the language we use, and shifted the way we talk about women.

Cristina admits that they both became highly sensitised to the language and attitudes surrounding women. “It was an interesting time as we are hyper aware, hawk eyed and bunny eared with everything around us. I think we are making a choice to raise children of any gender in this way, but how can we undo it?

The fact that we can make a show about this demonstrates a shift, but we both still feel incredibly tied to being likable. And there’s so much material, we’re now having to scale it down.

“£It’s also an incredibly emotional subject – and can bring us to tears. But as it goes on, we are bringing in more and more humour. And our voices have become a bigger and bigger part of our work, not just text, but in singing and sound.

It’s lovely to make another work that’s challenging in a different way.

Cristina and Chess are looking forward to their return to Hereford with their third show. “We love Hereford, we always have a sense of having left a legacy when we have gone.”

In part, this is because, while they’re here, they’ll be doing workshops with a group of women and with a pupil referral unit, and such is their popularity in the county, they reluctantly had to turn dow three other organisations who wanted some Hiccup magic.

There will also be a post show talk this time, which Cristina says is particularly apt for this show, and when they did one in Bristol, she and Chess were taken aback when no one, not a single person, left. “It lasted an hour,” says Cristina, still amazed at the same time as being unsurprised that the subject prompts so much interest. “It’s just as important as the show itself!” she says.

Imagine a world where the choices we make would be so different