Theatre Review: Naked Girls Reading – Undress And Understanding, Or Writing Exposed


Bruce Dennill

Writer. Reader. Singer. Songwriter. Believer. Likes to learn.

All content by Bruce Dennill first published on pARTicipate, republished with permission.
Bruce Dennill


Naked Girls Reading: Out With The Old, In With The Nude / Directed by Alicia Skead / POPArt, Maboneng, Johannesburg

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There’s a bit of old-fashoned eyebrow-raising that occurs when the name of this show – though that’s perhaps an inaccurate description; it’s more of a salon-style gathering focused on a panel of performers – is mentioned. And that’s part of the point of the concept: getting audiences to engage with a phenomenon (women being intentionally, comfortably naked in public) that if not as taboo as it used to be on exhibitionist grounds, is generally discouraged for reasons of safety (the women’s, not the audience’s).

There are a few edifying ideas at play with this concept, which has chapters in cities all over the world after being started by two burlesque performers in the US. There is the healthy desexualising of nudity; the encouragement of the notion that you can be nude, and see nude, without needing to assert yourself in a…

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