Play tackles issue of female football ban

By Antony Clay | 30/03/2017

Play tackles issue of female football ban
Jessica Butcher, Tanya-Loretta Dee and Daphne Kouma in Offside. Photo by Lidia Crisafulli WEB

A NEW play tells the tale of how the Football Association banned women from playing on its pitches for half a century.

Offside, which is coming to Doncaster’s Cast Theatre in April, interweaves four stories inspired by real events from the world of women's football.

Written by Sabrina Mahfouz and poet Hollie McNish, the production puts the spotlight on the 50-year ban, when the FA sidelined female players, and shows how they are still kicking against prejudice today. 

Back in 1921, the FA deemed football to be “quite unsuitable for females and… not to be encouraged”.

The play shows characters Mickey and Keeley pursuing their dream of playing for England, spurred on from the historical stories of Carrie Boustead, a black footballer who was playing in the 1880s and ‘90s, and the National Football Museum hall of fame star Lily Parr. 

Offside uses lyrical dialogue, poetry and punchy prose and places the audience on the touchline of a major game. 

Playwright and poet Hollie McNish said: “There are few sports that are still so purely masculine as football; when women’s football is the second most played sport worldwide, this is absurd.

“The history of why this is the case one of the most enlightening and overlooked histories I have read to date; a heady mix of political action, blatant sexism and economic bias. Nothing to do with female interest.”

Offside is at Cast on Thursday, April 13, kicking off at 7.45pm.

Tickets cost £10.50, or £9 concessions, and are available from Cast’s box office by calling 01302 303959 or online at