It is common knowledge that gender inequality is still a huge issue within the arts. For years women have been treated differently to their male counterparts and have felt invisible because of it.
So many great organisations, such as Equity and ERA 50:50, have been fighting for gender parity in theatre and have really started to make their mark and be heard.
At The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company we have always staged many plays by women but we wanted to do more and so the first “Taking The Stage“ Festival was born and produced in September 2019 to great acclaim. We are now well over gender parity, but we wish to continue to champion women playwrights. Even when the pandemic hit, we were able to do this. We were granted Emergency Funding from the Arts Council which enabled to develop one of the scratch pieces from 2019 into a full play. Unable to produce live theatre we told stories in other ways producing illustrations, a book, a twine and several short films.
Women have made a profound effect on theatre over the years with championing new and exciting writing by and about women, telling real women’s stories, and properly reflecting women on stage in order to resonate with the female audience, we weren’t going to let the pandemic stop us from creating incredible theatre made by women. So now we are so pleased we are finally able to produce live theatre and bring back our four-day festival, “Taking the Stage” and this time we’ve added screen as well.
We will be redressing the balance and focussing on empowering women within the arts and celebrating their achievements at our female fuelled festival from 30 March to 2 April at MK Gallery.
We are using the Sky Room stage to showcase new work from incredible women playwrights such as Chloe Todd Fordham, Poppy Corbett and Francis Grin, Subika Anwar-Khan, showcase local writers Shirley Jones, Lisa Lovell, Carly Halse and Rosemary Hill, show African films curated by a local female filmmaker, hold thought-provoking debates and conversations with key female industry figures, including Polly Kemp, Sarah Berger, Lisa Cagnacci and Maureen Beattie, and listen to key speeches by April De Angelis and Abi Zakarian and springboard the next generation of young artists into the spotlight with their brand-new theatre pieces.
Putting women and young people centre stage is of great importance to us at The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company. We want to give them the opportunity to tell their story and be visible while doing so.
Being able to pull together this festival with an abundance of wonderful female talent has been a fantastic experience. Like our previous event in 2019, it has been met with a great deal of positivity and support from within the industry.
Events that celebrate women and their talents needs to happen more often. We are committed to providing support for women in the arts by producing more ‘Taking the Stage’ events to showcase as many inspirational women as possible.
We need to champion all women within the industry and the next generation of young female talent and make it our responsibility to get ourselves seen and heard. Nobody else is going to do it for us!
We hope that you are able to join us at our ‘Taking the Stage and Screen’ festival and be the first to see some brand-new theatre. It will be a very exciting few days that you will not want to miss. Full details of our festival programme can be found here.
Our festival is supported by Arts Council England.