A poor economy lengthens more than the hemline.

In 1984: second-wave feminism, economic boom and mini skirts.
2014? Fourth-wave, underemployment, the mid-length.

Set in a fitting room, The Hemline Index  is a funny fast talking piece of theatre that delves into the minds of two twentysomething women as they contemplate work, relationships and expectations. The question is, has a lot changed in 30 years?

Women are getting married later, having children later, and hope to have it all figured out by 30.  Daughters, mothers, friends, lovers... Combining movement, verbatim and spoken word, Portmanteau will take you on a journey through time as measured by 'The Hemline Index,’ exploring the lives of two twentysomething women in their defining decade.

★★★★ "It’s politically conscious, but not preachy, hilarious in its dealing with pretty serious topical issues, and above all immensely human and exceptionally watchable."
— London Theatre 1
★★★★ "lovely, lyrical ...poetic script which draws out the shared humour and humanity between individuals."
— Scotsman
★★★★ "The lyrical text flows from both performers...switching into alluring set pieces of choreography that blur reality with ambitions and anxieties."
★★★★…”it feels topical and manages to make the age-old combination of women and clothing feel fresh and at times very funny”
— The Skinny

The Hemline Index is a work of theatre that bridges the generation between mothers and daughters. Portmanteau shares stories about employment, relationships, friendships, and the body through verbatim text, movement, spoken work, and original music. Our aim is to share a timeless piece about women in their 20s but also highlight how we are shaped by our economic context.
“Combining movement, verbatim and spoken word, this is a fast-moving and funny production about the overlapping lives of two women in two different historical moments”
Younger Theatre

Iterations of the work were presented at 5ideas at The Nursery on February 27th, 2014 and at Theatre Delicatessen on March 27th though the 29th. The work was previewed in July 2014 at Theatre Delicatessen and The Pleasance before premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at The Pleasance, performing a full run in The Cellar July 30th through August 25th. Portmanteau returned to London with The Hemline Index, performing the show as part of Camden People's Theatre's Calm Down, Dear: a Festival of Feminism on 24th September. They will be performing the show at COG ARTSpace in November, then to be followed by a tour in Spring 2015.

The performance was created through the support of Theatre Delicatessen and Tony Loy Foundation, Oxfordshire. Portmanteau would also like to extend their gratitude to RichMix, 5Ideas, and The Pleasance for their support in the development of the work.

Performed & co-devised by Melissa Booth & Rose Wardle
Produced by Corinne Wahlberg & Ryan Stagg
Written by Eva Hibbs in Collaboration with Portmanteau

Photography, videography and marketing material artwork by James Booth


Development for The Hemline Index is supported by:


With special thanks to: