Our Writing for Women event last Monday was a triumph – thank you so much to our very game audience and terrific speakers.
It’s heartening to know that there are many people out there, male and female, questioning the role of women in the arts industry. Even though every speaker on our panel had something very different to say, all seemed to agree on one thing: women need more time – and better time – in the spotlight. Our esteemed director of Frogs – touring this April around the South West – made my favourite point of the night: the joys of being ugly. We play Aristophanes’ comedy with a cast of five females. Now, traditionally, Aristophanes’ work is hyper-slapstick, hugely scatalogical and downright silly. To see five women take on this style of theatre is rare, rarer still to have them do so without even a whiff of a Y chromosome, yet what we present for our audiences is just that. Our cast revel in playing the grungy, grotesque frogs with the utmost delight and enthusiasm – that’s what drew Abbi to the project and that’s why we love performing it so much!
We’d also like to mention the superb presentation on women’s comedy by Jane Duffus of comedy brand, What the Frock!, for reminding us of the prejudice that still exists in the comedy world against women. Why are men the ‘safe’ option on a stand-up bill? Why not put on some funny women to replace any rubbish male comedians?! Amen!
Elaine Miles spoke heart-wrenchingly on the declining number of roles available for older women and the difficult subject matter which she likes to tackle in her writing. So many subjects, especially those pertaining to women’s lifestyle, are taboo for dual-gender audiences. To find out more about what Elaine is up to, follow her on Twitter @elainemilesk2. As if that wasn’t enough, Tamara Prenn, from the University of Bristol magazine, That’s What She Said, reminded us about the literary approach to women’s writing. Her section about reading as a woman was particularly interesting; she theorised that an English degree syllabus is dominated by male writers because, following comments from her tutors, it might be difficult for male students to ‘read as women’ in the same way women are expected to become male characters and ‘read as men.’ Food for thought indeed.
And the evening was thoroughly brightened up by some fantastic ukelele ditties from Helena Hoyle, including an especially-for-us song about the difficulty of finding the right words! Plus a reprisal of all-time Hoyle classic, Wear the Jumper.
You can see photos from Writing for Women, and more information about our company projects, on our Facebook page.