"Do you know what you're having yet? Boy or girl?"

This is likely to have been the first question anyone ever asked about you.


"It's a boy!"

"It's a girl!"

So ... which box did your doctors tick?

Femininity & Maleness

What do these words say to us? Is it the same thing for each of us? Have these words always represented the same thing, their meaning passing through us with the unyielding predictability of a Swiss clock? Or might those words bend, distort and spiral around us as we dance from one era to the next?

Join us and follow Orlando, Virginia Woolf and Sally Potter through time to ask the questions: what have we been? And ... what are we now?

Clay & Diamonds, the British Film Institute, and National Trust, with funding from Wellcome Trust, present ‘Orlando: The Queer Element’. This live cinema event is inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando and its 1992 film adaptation. Time travelling audiences will wind along Orlando’s journey through gender. As it unfurls across history, we will explore the instability that abounds in those mysteries: 'sex' and 'gender'.

Through theatre, film and insights from the worlds of fashion, endocrinology, history of sexuality and genetics, we will dig around and play with what it means when we call ourselves ‘woman’, ‘man’ and those spaces in between.

This show features in the National Trust Prejudice & Pride theme and is in the BFI Flare programme. It includes performances for schools audiences as well as the general public.

The performance company predominantly train at Fourth Monkey Training Company while students from the Masters in Design at the Royal College of Art contributed original works to the set design.


Follow the link for more information on the schools performances at BFI Flare, Hanbury Hall and Knole.


Tour Dates



Director Simone Coxall

Producer George Macpherson

Writer Andrew Dawson

Co-Producer Mark Reid (BFI Education)

Assistant Director Sarah Griffin

Designer Zahra Mansouri

Company Stage Manager Ali Graham

Deputy Stage Manager Becky Peskett

Design Assistant Beckie Rayner

Fourth Monkey Support Steve Green and Abby Gorton

Cast Fourth Monkey Training Company, Year 2 Rep



BFI Flare

BFI Flare Producers Emilie Arnold and Tricia Tuttle

Assistant Director/Peter Goodfellow Robert Beck

Orlando Robyn Holdaway

Orlando Molly Ward

Jonathan Swift Ed Zephyr

Joseph Addison Ian McCurrach

Nettie Stevens Sarah Griffin

Designer Zahra Mansouri

Debate Chair Dr Sophie Mayer

History of Sexuality Dr Jana Funke 

Fertility Professor Allan Pacey

Neuropsychology Dr Qazi Rahman



Transgender Consultants Gendered Intelligence

Genetics Professor Dave Hornby

Endocrinology Professor John Wass

Graphic Design Tom Gudgeon

Huge thanks to our funders and partners for their support in making this work possible.