Meat Industry Musical ‘Mad Cow’ Debuts At UK’s First Vegan Theatre

A new musical play targets the meat industry at the UK's first vegan theater

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Two actors on stage at a meat industry play at the UK's first vegan theater What's thought to be the UK's first plant-based theater recently opened in Kent - Media Credit: Bailey Fear

A musical play about the meat industry called Mad Cow is coming to Canterbury’s new all-vegan Garlinge Theater next month.

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The musical, which Alison Harris from The Garlinge Theater described to Plant Based News as both a “darkly comic satire” and an “uplifting coming of age story, marks the debut of local writer and performer Hero Douglas’s Quaestio Productions.

It focuses on a teenage girl growing up on a small-scale farm in north Wales, and while her family is concerned with keeping up appearances with their neighbors, she connects more with the cows and pigs who live on the family farm.

“The story of Mad Cow, which is largely taken from real-life observations, satirizes a landowning family’s sense of entitlement and desire to have-it-all,” explained Douglas.

“Its themes are universal – it’s about family, about growing up ‘different,’ about greed and standing up for your beliefs”, she continued. “It explores important questions around sustainability and the ethics of the meat industry – issues that we can no longer ignore.”

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Theater is a space in which to explore ‘tricky’ ethical issues

Photo shows the poster for 'Mad Cow,' an upcoming musical play about the meat industry
The ‘Mad Cow’ musical is coming to the all-vegan Garlinge Theater in July

The Garlinge Theater opened earlier this year in a former Steiner school building. Harris – who is also an actor – her partner, Swale borough councilor Terry Thompson, and the head of the new school, James Osbiston, founded the theater as a co-operative.

The Garlinge now has a capacity for 300 attendees and is thought to be the first-ever vegan theater in the UK. This means that anyone visiting or renting the space out will have to stick to plant-based food and drink while on site. The strict policy also prompted calls for a boycott, and Quaestio Productions is “bracing for criticism” over the content of the new play.

“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a time when you can’t mention veganism without risking an onslaught of negativity,” added Douglas. “But we’re not trying to preach or convert anyone. Theater is a space to explore tricky ethical and societal issues. We want to encourage audiences to look a little closer and to talk more about these things.”

“Ultimately, we’re storytellers and this is a delightfully mad, funny, heart-full story. We think you’re going to love it,” said Douglas.

You can learn more about Quaestio Productions here and The Garlinge Theater here. Mad Cow runs from July 3 – July 13, 2024, and you can purchase tickets here.

Read more: The UK Is About To Open Its ‘First Ever’ Vegan Theater

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