Amanda Whittington’s new play Atalanta Forever which looks at the story of the pioneering women in football in 1920.
Atalanta Forever will kick off at The Piece Hall in Halifax on Wednesday 9th June and then tour nationally by road and river until 19 September.
It is 1920, and in post-war Britain, women’s football is big news. Across the country, all-girl teams are pulling huge crowds in fund-raising games for wounded soldiers. Huddersfield amateurs Ethel and Annie take a shot at the big time. Teammates at Atalanta AFC, they are soon tackling new football skills, mastering the offside rule, and kicking back at the doubters.
Come and cheer for Atalanta as our plucky underdogs learn how to play the game, take on the legendary teams of the era – and find the toughest opponent of all is the FA.
The play is based on the true story of one of three women’s football teams in Huddersfield in post war Britain. Told through the lives of two young women Atalanta Ladies Football Club was formed in 1920 ‘to provide games for the women of Huddersfield, to foster a sporting spirit, and a love of honour among its members.’ During the Great War, several women’s football teams had sprung up around the country, usually based in factories or munitions works, and proved a great success in raising money for hospitals, war widows and so on.
A measure of the popularity of the women’s game may be measured by the estimated 25,000 crowd that packed Hillsborough, Sheffield, for their next game with the Dick, Kerr Ladies of Preston on May 4 which they lost 4-0 to their much more experienced opponents.
In the wider football world, the growing popularity of women’s football was now causing concern. The FA even saw it as taking support away from the men’s game and on December 5, 1921, they banned women’s teams from using FA affiliated grounds.
The pioneering Huddersfield Atalanta Ladies FC raised more than £2,000 for various charities before they folded in 1924.
2021 is the 100th anniversary of the Football Association banning women from playing on Football League grounds which was lifted 50 years later. It will also be the 50th anniversary of the first Women’s first FA Cup final.
For tour dates and information on Atalanta Forever visit http://mikron.org.uk