FRANCA, a solo performance by actress Roberta Laguardia, is a new production of the works of celebrated Italian playwright Franca Rame that will tour the Northwest this February. Produced in association with Lantern Theatre Liverpool the one-woman show will open at the venue before heading to Kings Arms Salford and Chester University. The small Northwest tour will be followed by a tour of Italy with the play returning to the UK this summer for a run at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. Rame shot to fame in the 1970s, gaining worldwide acclaim for her comedic, satirical approach to issues to do with social justice and women’s rights. Since then, her work has been performed extensively throughout the world, dealing with themes which are as relevant to the present days as they were when first performed nearly forty years ago. Laguardia, as in the original versions performed by Rame herself, plays the role of both narrator and actor. The narrations, which introduce the plays and their contexts, are often as entertaining as the characters and stories which follow. The stories themselves contain humour, irony, anger, and passion, performed in the celebrated style of the Italian epic theatre. Franca concentrates on complex, current and unresolved themes to which Franca Rame dedicated her work and life, such as gender equality, sexual violence and social justice. As relevant now as they were when first performed in the 1970s, Laguardia’s new production offers UK & international audiences a unique opportunity to enjoy the work of one of the finest theatre practitioners of the twentieth century. Roberta Laguardia is from Matera in the South of Italy. She studied at the University La Sapienza in Rome, and then at the Accademia d’Arte Drammatica Beatrice Bracco. In the last 12 years she has been acting in Italy, Germany and England, mostly in focusing on the work of Franca Rame. She has presented her work at Alcatraz, the cultural centre at the heart of the Franca Rame-Dario Fo project. Her work is fully authorized by the Rame-Fo estate. Tour dates 22nd and 23rd February – Lantern Theatre Liverpool. Tickets £10/8 www.lanterntheatreliverpool.co.uk 24th February – Chester University.