Empower your students! Book today!

"Profiles in Courage" from Broad Street Review, 9/17/2011


Who on earth would want to attend a performance about endometriosis? Let us now praise Cathy Quigley, who brought this painful condition to the stage with a combination of courage, aplomb and ingenuity.

“Come be educated!”

It’s not a common promotional line in the wacky little world of the Philadelphia Fringe, and certainly not the most alluring. Educated about what?

I requested only one ticket to Cathy Quigley’s Female Trouble. After all, who would want to join me for a performance about endometriosis? But in retrospect, I see that I was guilty of perpetuating the taboo that Quigley is fighting. I wish I’d brought someone else along to see the show.

Quigley—who wrote, directed and choreographed this unusual mash-up of dance, singing and monologue vignettes—was originally inspired when her own health challenges led to surprising research. By some estimates, almost 200 million women worldwide suffer from endometriosis, a condition that causes the tissue that normally lines the uterus to form elsewhere in a woman’s body as well, often causing infertility, not to mention causing terrible pain, internal lesions, inflammation and scarring. Yet most people know nothing about this disease, whose causes and cures are both unknown.

With an ensemble of 15 performers, Female Trouble meditated on the anguish that can accompany infertility, as well as the personal and social repercussions of endometriosis. Beyond its good intentions, the show was also crafted with remarkable fluidity, drawing on ideas and images from many cultures. Each of its individual stories was a profile in courage, both in its subject matter and in the actors’ well-grounded and accessible performances.


Arielle (Diagnosed at age 15)

"I can't say thank you enough. My mother, aunts and girlfriend were all moved by the work on Sunday. I couldn't have articulated the pain and anguish of endometriosis any better. All the stories danced and spoken were amazingly on point. Seeing my story danced and spoken was overwhelming. Please tell the two young women that they captured me beautifully. My godmother, a dance teacher, said that the dance was perfect and looked like something I would choreograph or dance myself. The actress portrayed my feelings perfectly. It was almost scary how well you summed me up. Thank you, Cathy. I pray  to see this piece again many times and would love to have a DVD or recording of it some day. Thank you. Thank You! Thank you!!"

Shannon (Diagnosed at age 33 as a result of Female Trouble)

"Ms. Cathy Quigley and I have known each other ten plus years, and she was always the "Go-To" among girlfriends when anything was of a female nature. About 6 years ago, I confided in her that I was in pain quite often, during my period, during PMS, during intercourse - mostly it seemed like during everything "female related". I went to a doctor for a few years and expressed my concern to her, she basically brushed it aside with pain medications, multiple birth control prescriptions, and an IUD.

During this time, Ms. Quigley was in pre-production for Female Trouble and encouraged me to seek counseling regarding endometriosis. She kept saying, 'The symptoms are exact...ask them for help...' which I did multiple times to no avail.

Ms. Quigley was persistent and during her research asked around and found another doctor for me who was an expert in endometriosis. I went, he pre-diagnosed me with endometriosis,  I had surgery a month later and was formally diagnosed with endometriosis.

Two months later, my (very supportive!) boyfriend and I went to see Female Trouble, it moved us to tears. The struggles I had to go through came to life on the stage.  I know this will open up many doors to other misdiagnosed women--everyone needs to be educated! I owe my sanity and my uterus to Ms. Cathy Quigley."