Notepads are essential for reviewing shows and exhibitions. For a little while I tried to write notes on my smartphone but the screen glare can be distracting and the battery inevitably runs down. It's still quicker to write longhand than to fiddle around with an onscreen keyboard. Imagine my delight (squeee!) when the lovely folk at bureau direct got in contact to tell me about My Rhodia. It's a premium French brand of notepads, notebooks and other stationery items like pencils and desktop accessories. (read on)...
This picture of Emma Watson shows a quote from her about feminism and the #HeforShe campaign. I got upset that whoever designed this image placed it on a pink background. Why? it's just a colour surely. What does it matter? (read on)...
Over the past couple of weeks I've been caught up in the Women's World Cup, which has made me think about women in sport, and the wish for women in sport to have an equal profile, training and pay to men. I've been engaging my friends in online debate and here are some of my thoughts:
The Bank of England is calling for the public to nominate a historically important British visual artist to appear on the new £20 note. You have until the 19th July 2015 to nominate. A sponsored item came up in my newsfeed to vote for a male artist whose facebook page I like and whose gallery I've visited. I left a message saying, although I'm a fan of his work, I will vote for a woman artist, as it's important to me that women appear on banknotes. (read on)...
There are 8 days left if you'd like to sponsor our crowdfunder. I've heard rumours that Female Arts reviews can be "bought". This is not and has never been the case! In exchange for sponsorship we can promote your show with an interview or a feature (these are the most popular options). If you have a show in the Camden or Edinburgh fringe you may welcome the extra publicity. In exchange this enables us to carry out vital fixes and updates to our website. Our reviews are impartial, cannot be paid for and are subject to the review team's availability - they choose what they want to review, once you've told us about your production.
Why do you even need a crowdfunder?
In three years we have not had any funding (from any source). Female Arts is run entirely by passionate volunteers. Editor Wendy Thomson and Deputy Editor Sophie Porter have put thousands of hours of free, unpaid work into running Female Arts: publishing, updating social media and dealing with press enquiries, venues, PR and our volunteer team of reviewers. We also both happen to be working single mothers with pre-school children who do this in our spare time . We met at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. We are both feminist playwrights and care about gender equality on and off stage. Sophie co-founded theatre company The Minty Crimples and I co-founded sketch group The Reading Berks My writer's cv is http://www.wendythomson.co.uk please take a look at some of our work.
Our review team (all volunteers, many are industry professionals) have reviewed hundreds of productions which focus on women in the arts. The work we do is much needed and well regarded.
This blog entry is the 1000th article published since Female Arts was launched in May 2011! Thank you and congratulations to all involved @femalearts!
With this very special entry I'd like to share with you some exciting events coming up in March that the Female Arts team will be involved in to help celebrate, commemorate and campaign for gender equality on International Women's Day (Saturday March 8th).
Wednesday 5th March Very pleased and excited to announce that Female Arts are co-hosting a WOW party at Southbank centre #WOWLDN @WOWtweetUK with GAP Salon @GAPsalon and So and So Arts Club @soandsoartsclub. You are welcome to join us and the other charities / organisations involved in the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall from 6pm-7.30pm to help us celebrate our achievements http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/wow-parties-81651
Friday 7th March Female Arts are running an information stall in the WOW marketplace, Southbank centre between 10am-6pm. We will be blogging and tweeting live, follow us @femalearts #wowfemalearts, meet the team! find out more about what we do, and what we'd like to do in the future! http://wow.southbankcentre.co.uk/
Saturday 8th March Morning - Female Arts will be involved in the 'Walk in Her Shoes' march for women and girls living in poverty, Care International. Join Helen Pankhurst and the Olympic Suffragettes in a walk from Tate Britain to the Southbank centre. To register and for more details please see http://www.femalearts.com/node/983
Then - Female Arts will dash to the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama @CSSDLondon to join in with their International Women's Day Festival @IWDfest14
It will be a busy week, I feel tired already. Thank you for your support and please share with us news of what you are doing for International Women's Day 2014 - email firstname.lastname@example.org tweet us @femalearts write on our wall www.facebook.com/femalearts
As a new playwright I was thrilled to have two playlets produced by London Grey and Green theatre co http://greyandgreentheatre.co.uk/ at the Hen and Chickens and Rosemary Branch theatres in May and October and even more surprised and chuffed when Cathy Tyson came down to support me - and the other new writers. London Grey and Green are a fantastic theatre company please follow them on Twitter @GreyGreenTheatr and Facebook www.facebook.com/LondonGreyAndGreen
I attended a meeting of the League of Professional Women in Theatre UK. I am a volunteer for this group who have nearly 1000 members and is rapidly growing. The group aims to promote visibility and increase opportunities for women in the Professional Theatre. If you would like to join please click on this link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/484847981569852 Like the facebook page www.facebook.com/LeagueOfTheatreWomenUk follow on Twitter @LofPTW
I attended UK Feminista’s summer school in Birmingham http://ukfeminista.org.uk/ which was an inspiring weekend and met some of the campaigners who are bringing feminism back into public focus including Lucy Anne Holmes from No More Page 3 @NoMorePage3 – which aims to remove topless models from The Sun newspaper.
Other campaigns I followed with interest in 2013 were Caroline Criado-Perez @CCriadoPerez who fought to get women back onto English banknotes and her other campaign The Women’s Room which challenges the media's poor gender ratio with a 3000+ expert women database.@thewomensroomuk
I attended a GAP Salon (Gender and Performance) meeting where members discuss, debate and strive for better representation on stage and in other areas of performance http://www.femalearts.com/node/890
Another personal highlight was being involved in organising an art exhibition on behalf of a talented individual who had passed away, it was great to see their work on display and shared with the public.
I’m probably better at promoting other people than myself! But if you like the work I’m doing and would like to boost my ego please...
In December I attended a Gender and Performance salon in London. These are monthly meetings to discuss gender - and performance ... this could be interpreted as women in theatre but is much more than that - and men are welcome.
Co founded by Amy Clare Tasker, Susan Crothers and Kate Baiden the group grew out of a conversation in the League of Professional Women in Theatre, and is a much welcome place where people can meet in person, after networking online or elsewhere!
At the December salon I was really pleased to meet Sam Hall founder of 17 percent, if you are a female playwright do check out her site! http://17percent.wordpress.com/
On Wednesday 18th December I was a panelist at the So & So / Tristan Bates Theatre / Actors Centre 'Women In Arts' festival - on the 'Writing for Women' panel alongside the founder of the So and So Arts club Sarah Berger @SarahJaneBerger, playwright Sarah Rutherford @Sar_hRutherford, editor and media trainer Susan Grossman @wordsallowed, writer/director Trent Burton @TrunkmanUK, comedy writer/performer Karen Haley @roaring_girl and Actor, TV & Radio presenter Jean Rogers @TalkToVP
Why should an overweight woman apologise to society? If Mathilda is happy why should she change? Why is it anyone else’s business? ‘How to Be Fat’ is an honest, heartfelt show and it’s great that Mathilda does it. Edfringe 2015
Erin Layton is not Irish. But if you have seen her in Magdalen, you will probably think that she is. Erin Layton, very fond of “impersonations and mimicking since a very early age”, the writer and multiple character performer of Magdalen is an impressively insightful young woman from St Louis Missouri, whose Irish roots have been beautifully intertwined with her feminist anxieties.
A recent article in the Guardian listed all the upcoming shows at Edinburgh that ‘celebrate trans life’ but many of the shows listed aren’t about trans issues, or performed by trans people, they are about dressing for another gender, or they are about sexuality. Emma Frankland’s latest piece 'Rituals for Change' is about trans issues and I spoke with her after a preview showing at South Street Arts Centre in Reading.