A new play about Joan of Arc will portray the patron saint of France as “gender neutral” and have her using “they/them” pronouns in a play that’s said to be “alive, queer and full of hope.”
The Globe Theater in London will host the new project, “I, Joan,” which opens August 25 and runs through October.
“A cry for courage erupts in the Globe Theatre this summer with the premiere of I, Joan, a powerful and joyous new play which tells Joan of Arc’s story anew,” the website says about the play.
“The men are all fighting, again. An endless war. From nowhere, an unexpected leader emerges. Young, poor and about to spark a revolution. This is Joan. Rebelling against the world’s expectations, questioning the gender binary, Joan finds their power and their belief spreads like fire.”
“Join us in the wooden ‘O’ and feel the heat of the sun and the pulse of Joan’s passion,” the synopsis continued. “With open hearts and raised voices, dance and cheer with us as we rediscover Joan’s story. It’s alive, queer and full of hope.”
Artistic Director Michelle Terry says the presentation of Joan as gender neutral is not unprecedented. She said “they/them” pronouns are consistent with history “as early as 1375,” per a statement on identity in “I, Joan.”
“We are not the first to present Joan in this way, and we will not be the last. We can’t wait to share this production with everyone and discover this cultural icon,” The Globe shared on Twitter.
Our new play I, Joan shows Joan as a legendary leader who uses the pronouns ‘they/them’. We are not the first to present Joan in this way, and we will not be the last. We can't wait to share this production with everyone and discover this cultural icon.https://t.co/19T7baWsRk pic.twitter.com/lrgOC59TvQ
— Shakespeare's Globe (@The_Globe) August 11, 2022
Frank Furedi, an emeritus professor at the University of Kent, told The Times that the play was “rewriting history” and that the play was an example of “a fantasy backwards.”
“Someone like Joan of Arc would not have any idea what non-binary was. It is a recharacterisation of something that did not even exist at the time,” Furedi told the publication.
The Globe writes that it is “unequivocally pro-human rights” which “includes trans people, non-binary people, black and minority ethnic people, and people with disabilities. Trans men and women and non-binary identities exist and are valid.”
Joan of Arc was a military leader who defeated the English at the siege of Orléans during the Hundred Years’ War despite being a young woman at the time. She was captured and burned at the stake as a heretic, though she was later exonerated for her crimes. Joan of Arc was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1920.