Review | Bad Girls at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 

Bad Girls at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival gave a fascinating insight into the lives and stories of women who have spent time in the infamous Holloway prison. The hour-long event was based on the book of the same name, by Author Caitlin Davies. I could have sat there all day listening to the tales of the women who resided there.

The release of Mary Lee and Edith New from Holloway

The release of Mary Leigh and Edith New from Holloway Prison

So many women, with so many stories, have passed through the doors of Holloway Prison since its opening in 1852. So Davies focused on the Suffragettes; some of the most famous residents there. What better way to pay tribute to the 100 years of suffrage than sharing the stories of some of the most important women in history? Davies busted some of the myths surrounding the movement and spoke about events that history has chosen to forget. Did you know that the prison was bombed by suffragettes? Or that the women inside held sports days and other events whilst fighting for change? It was both eye-opening and fascinating, to say the least.

Throughout Bad Girls, other important social topics such as penal reform and mental health were touched upon. We also learnt about some of the important schemes that Holloway ran. They had homework clubs after school so children could learn with their mothers and a swimming pool where mothers and children could spend time together in a normal environment. There were so many positive social and mental health schemes that prison ran. It makes the closure and sale of Holloway to make room for luxury flats, all the more devastating.

Davies spoke with such confidence, conviction and passion throughout the event. She was such an inspiring person to listen to. She completely captured my attention. I found myself leaving and wanting to learn more and more. I’m sure I won’t be the only person desperate to get their hands on a copy of her book.

Bad Girls at The Norfolk and Norwich Festival was more than just an event about rebel girls. It was eye-opening, thought-provoking and refreshing to hear cold hard facts, without any media bias. I found myself surprised and shocked at so many of the stories from the past and present. If you get a chance to head Davies speak, go, it will be one of the best hours you’ll spend!


Bad Girls was a one-off event at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2018. You can find out more about Bad Girls and Caitlin Davies on her website.

All of my reviews of the Norfolk and Norwich festival can be found here.

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I was given a ticket to this performance for the purpose of review. As always my opinion remains honest and unbiased.

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