Bad Feminist

In this chick flick brought to stage, Audrey learns what it takes to be a feminist when you don't have all the facts.

Bad Feminist is an in-depth exploration of feminism and r*pe culture, centering on the culture between women as victims and allies. What are the implications of the ‘believe all women,’ and victim shaming mentalities woven into this incredibly delicate culture? How do women hold toxic rape culture up against each other?

Bad Feminist follows 21-year-old Audrey, who is warned that Benji, her boyfriend of two years, whom she is about to move in with, was accused of sexual assault in high school. She is given this warning from a mutual friend of the couple over the phone, and from that moment her mind spins out of control, considering every possibility, and every move she can make; does she confront him? What if he says it’s true, what if he says it’s not? Who accused him? Should Audrey reach out? What’s her Instagram handle? Maybe this girl is a convicted felon, but maybe she’s a Nobel peace prize winner. Maybe (hopefully) Benji will spontaneously combust when Audrey asks him about it. Audrey’s mind spins into her own personal Groundhog Day of every decision she could possibly make.

The atmosphere and style devolves from a hilarious, bright cinematic realism to gritty naturalism as the reality and hugeness of the situation dawns on Audrey. In the end, we leave Audrey’s mental space and return to her actual decision; to find this girl and ask her what happened. The final moment shows this conversation, and the dreaded question, but ends before the accuser says yes or no.

Form and Style

Bad Feminist sits under a genre we have lovingly dubbed cinematic realism, and is a stark divergence from the way rape culture is usually discussed in theatre.

Utilising cinematic conventions such as quick cuts, flashbacks, and narration, we create the feeling of watching a romantic comedy onstage, inspired by films such as ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Easy A’ and ‘Clueless’. AV plays multiple important roles in this work; it upholds the dramaturgy and style within the world and acts as a storytelling tool. The AV shows us both what’s on her phone and in her imagination, giving critical clues into Audrey’s mental state. This is tied with complimentary sound design, heavily inspired by classic early 2000s teen movie soundtracks and motifs. We view the technology as a character and collaborator in the work, which gives the show both its own unique flavour and immersive ‘wow’ factor.

Film is a highly accessible medium, and we use this to our advantage to reach people who may not necessarily prefer to come see a traditional theatrical work with this form. Utilising an experimental plot structure inspired by the repeated experience of one moment in ‘Groundhog Day’, Bad Feminist is a thrilling theatrical challenge of form, narrative structure, and stylistic possibility. The intricate blending of the power of cinema and the immersion of live theatre is the trademark intrigue of the form of Bad Feminist.

Community Engagement

Practical Performance Technology: How Tech Can Work With You, Rather Than Asking It To Work For You
Abi (co-writer/sound designer) and Emmason (AV designer) would host a hands-on session explaining the practical processes of how to use programs like QLab and FinalCut, encouraging participants to actively engage with commonly used theatrical technology. This is especially useful for young makers or makers who may not otherwise have the opportunity or expertise readily available to them to learn these practical skills. The team would then lead a deep-dive into the writing process, exploring how to write a script that actively integrates technology as its own character. Participants would be assisted in writing a scene where theatrical technology plays a pivotal role.

Intertwining Cinema and Live Performance
Abi and Holland (co-writers/director) will hold a session exploring how to utilise cinematic techniques to provide a thrilling experience for theatrical audiences, based on their research and practice developing the form of ‘cinematic realism’. Having developed a lengthy handbook on how to translate film to stage during the development of the show, Abi and Holland will explain the parallels between these two forms. Participants will be asked to analyze their favourite films and explore how they might stage these cinematic experiences.

Writing From Scars, Not Wounds
Abi and Holland will lead a discussion about writing from trauma, working with confronting content, and provide tools on how to both make this work safely and how to safely present it to audiences. Holland is writing her thesis on content warnings for live performance, and Rhiannon is currently undertaking their thesis on intimacy training. Holland and Rhiannon will jointly lead a workshop providing key language and expertise on what a safe rehearsal room looks like, how to actively promote consent, and how to assert your safety in the room as a performer.


“Written by Abi Russell and Holland Brooks, Bad Feminist is Sailing With Styx Theatre’s debut play and I have to say, if this is their beginning then we can expect great things from them… Flawlessly mirroring real life situations where all we have is a person’s word that this happened, Bad Feminist is like sitting on a jury…. a hilariously sharp study in judgement. It will chew you up and spit you back out again.” – Fourth Wall Media

“Bad Feminist contained witty and insightful observations pertaining to the impossibility of certainty, and the uncertainty of possibility. It was as accessible as the romcom posters incorporated into the set, but far more confronting. And definitely funnier.” – ArtsHub

“Such a brilliant show, had no idea what to expect and it totally surprised me and addressed a very hard but sadly relevant and real issue. So engaging and the cast were entertaining and professional. Amazing show!!” – Audience Testimonial

Available Marketing Collateral

For our 2023 season of Bad Feminist, we collated an immense amount of marketing collateral. Our producer utilized the nostalgic aesthetic of the 2000s rom com aesthetic to theme our marketing, drawing in more audience members inclined towards cinema than a traditionally theatrically-inclined audience.

Collateral used includes:

  • Professional posters; distributed both as a traditional poster and on smaller cards,
  • Professional promotional images,
  • Detailed media release,
  • Rehearsal photos,
  • Reviews from several well-known critics and audience testimonials,
  • Professional videography/photography of the performance,
  • Synopses of varying lengths,
  • An RTRFM interview featuring the two writers,
  • Production-specific marketing which included distribution of a detailed content warnings page that included descriptions of text and staging of potentially distressing content.

We have also undertaken detailed planning and received mentorship on how to make our marketing accessible to visually impaired or D/deaf peoples and have detailed documentation to help us practically implement this.


Sailing With Styx is a new company composed of emerging creatives dedicated to experimentation with the intersection of technology and theatrical form. Holland, Abi and Rhiannon are 2022 WAAPA graduates. Rhiannon and Holland are currently undertaking their Honours year, studying intimacy training in collaborative/devised settings and content warnings in relation to abstracted violence respectively. Since their graduation, all three creatives have consistently been offered professional opportunities due to their diligent work ethic and consistent innovation.

Jolene and Andrea have established themselves as powerhouses in the theatrical community; Jolene’s lighting design has been seen across nearly every major venue in Perth, and Andrea, the creative director of MaedForU, is one of Perth’s most highly sought after graphic designers. Emmason is a multi-award-winning cinematographer/photographer who has developed a niche in designing AV for performance, supported by their strong knowledge of cinematic convention.

Performers Harrison Lorenz-Daniel and Harper Nguyen, and stage manager Kira Feeney, are current WAAPA students who have already built strong reputations within the industry, all making their professional theatrical debuts before entering their third year of university.



From January 2024


Theatre and Puppetry


Young people (16-30), frequent cinemagoers, chick-flick lovers, students


75 Minutes

Bump In

6 Hours

Bump Out

3 Hours


Weekly Fee: $7,500.00
Royalties: 5%

Company Contacts

Contact Name: Abi Russell

Tell me more


Venue Format

Black box, L-shaped, proscenium arch, thrust and in-the-round are all easily workable

Touring Party



Maximum performances a week: 5

Does this show require a remount? Yes

First Possible Performance: Morning of Day 2

Minimum Break Between Shows: 1 Hour

Minimum stage dimensions: 5m x 5m

Staging and Set Description: The set includes two mattresses, 13 moving boxes filled with various personal items, a lamp, a projector, and projector screen. One wall of the space is covered in rom-com movie posters and cutesy decor, to give the appearance of a young 20-something’s room. The show is primarily props-based, utilising items such as a fake gun, flowers, cacti and phones for all characters. There are also several consumables used in the show, being an éclair, potato crisps and wine. The show was originally staged in a black box with an L-shaped seating bank but can be easily adapted to any kind of theatrical space, from proscenium arch to in-the-round. The staging is highly integrated with the technological capacity of the space, utilising clever lighting and sound shifts to signify changes in Audrey’s mental space or to show whether she is delivering a direct address. The set is designed to ‘devolve’ as a reflection of Audrey’s mental space; while it begins quite tidy and packed up, all these props and clothes end up scattered. The show is easily reset, packed and transported due to the nature of the set (except the mattresses and projector/screen) with all props needing to be packed into moving boxes at the beginning of the show. The staging of performers similarly reflects this devolution of mental clarity, as characters begin the show very stylised and ‘peppy’, and over the course of the work become gradually more attuned to realism as the gravity of the situation sets in.

Lighting requirements: Two LEDs and two generic parcan lights.

Audio requirements: Two large speakers.

Other technical or performance notes: The show requires use of a projector and projector screen. We also used a small lamp with a specialised dimmable bulb. While this is not necessary, it adds immensely to the atmosphere of the work.