About the play
Gwyneth Bebb has left Oxford University the top law student of her year. So why can’t she practise as a professional lawyer? Because she’s a woman…
Based on true events and the infamous case “Bebb v the Law Society”, the drama follows four brave young women on the eve of WW1 as they fight for the right to become our first female lawyers; a tale of faith, hope and bigotry.
In tumultuous times they battle the mighty legal establishment against all odds, amidst personal feuds, joys and tragedies.
The title role will be played by Call the Midwife’s Laura Main, other cast includes Martin Shaw, Jason Watkins, Ray Fearon and Hugh Dennis.
The performance is on behalf of the Kalisher Trust, a charity which supports aspiring barristers, whatever their background, to create a more diverse and socially mobile criminal Bar; unlocking the skills of criminal barristers, and showing that anyone can aspire to be the advocate of tomorrow. Internships and awards are available.
Researching “Bebb v the Law Society”
Access the original reports of the case Bebb v The Law Society  1 Ch. 286 in the various law reports held at City’s lawlibraries and via Westlaw
Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, from the School of Law at Reading University is the leading expert on Gwyneth Bebb. You can access her articles via CityLibrary Search:
Virginia Woolf was a contemporary of Gwyneth Bebb. Could she have been describing her when she wrote the following in 1929?
“At any rate, she was making the attempt. And as I watched her lengthening out for the test, I saw, but hoped that she did not see, the bishops and the deans, the doctors and the professors, the patriarchs
and the pedagogues all at her shouting warning and advice. You can’t do this and you shan’t do that! Fellows and scholars only allowed on the grass! Ladies not admitted without a letter of introduction!
……. So they kept at her like the crowd at a fence on the race-course, and it was her trial to take her fence without looking to right or to left. If you stop to curse you are lost, I said to her; equally, if you stop to laugh.
Hesitate or fumble and you are done for. Think only of the jump, I implored her, as if I had put the whole of my money on her back; and she went over it like a bird. But there was a fence beyond that and a fence beyond that.
Whether she had the staying power I was doubtful, for the clapping and the crying were fraying to the nerves. But she did her best.”
Virginia Woolf ‘A Room of One’s Own’: http://library.city.ac.uk/record=b1163691