By Julia Grogan & Lydia Higman


Daring Hare Productions and Grace Dickson Productions

Supported by the Turbine Theatre and Wildcard

“A chaotic caper deftly handled in the witty and barbed script… brilliantly executed”
Stage Reviews

“Invigoratingly intelligent, unapologetically inappropriate… I can only hope this show has future runs planned, frankly it’d be a crime if it didn’t”
View From The Outside

“Extraordinarily funny and ingeniously written drama”
Spy in the Stalls

Belly Up is a new comedy set in 1790s London exploring the life of a gay maidservant, Liberty Whitley, who after murdering her abusive master, is sentenced to hang. She falsely ‘pleads the belly’; she is granted a reprieve from hanging for being pregnant. So… how is a virgin maid, banged up in the women’s ward of Newgate Prison, going to get herself with child? 

The play is a poignant exploration of systemic issues faced by women and abuses of power. Liberty must exploit the system of sexism that oppresses her; her life is saved on the condition she can reproduce. Belly Up seeks to draw parallels between the historical, social and legal context of female oppression, and its relevance to contemporary social structures. 

Belly Up combines quick-fire comedy, captivating original music and provocative political insights for a raucous and romping night out.

Project History

Belly Up premiered at the VAULT Festival in 2020, where it completely sold out and received a raft of five-star reviews. The project received Arts Council funding to develop the script, add a live band and write original compositions. This new and improved version of the show was offered a run at the Turbine Theatre in September 2021 by Artistic Director, Paul Taylor Mills, where GDP came on board as a co-producer. The show sold out its run and received another bevy of positive reviews.

Creative Team & Cast

Writer Julia Grogan & Lydia Higman
Director Rachel Lemon
Composer & Musician Lydia Higman
Lighting Designer Stacey Sandford
Producer Grace Dickson

Cast Fanta Barrie, Michael Bijok, Julia Grogan, Melissa Knighton and Emmy Stonelake

Credit: Daring Hare Productions

Photography Benkin
Key Art (Photography) Charlie Budd