Sistren: doing it for themselves

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Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre is marking Women’s History Month with a play called The Sistren, on Wednesday, March 5, at 7.30pm.

The Sistren, described by creators Gazebo Theatre Company as “a powerful, funny celebration of women”, brings together three extraordinary players in the fight for women’s rights, who give “a compelling, entertaining and moving account of their struggle to make a difference, while dealing with the daily tribulations of womanhood”.

The most famous of the three women is Mary Wollstonecraft, the “founder of modern feminism” through her book Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and mother to Frankenstein author, Mary Shelley.

The second icon is Claudia Jones: communist, founder of the first Black British weekly newspaper, and “the mother of the Nottinghill Carnival”.

The last is Emma Lloyd Sproson or Red Emma: suffragette, and Wolverhampton’s first female councillor.

The Sistren brings these women together in their afterlives, to help a living woman in her hour of need, starring Tonia Daley-Campbell (Jamaica 50, Black Hill, Araba’s Song – A Slaves’ Story), alongside Therese Collins (Foursight Theatre, Women and Theatre, Talking Birds) and Pamela Cole-Hudson (Gazebo, Catcher Media).

The Eastgate’s Liz Taylor writes: “If you like laughing, crying, history, current affairs, women or hearing the things we all think but never talk about, (men, this will be an eye opener), this is one exciting new play.”

She added: “The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month, celebrating women of character, courage, and commitment, honours the extraordinary and often unrecognised determination and tenacity of women.”

“Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come.

“They have demonstrated their character, courage and commitment as mothers, educators, institution builders, business, labor, political and community leaders, relief workers, women religious, and CEOs.

“Their lives and their work inspire girls and women to achieve their full potential and encourage boys and men to respect the diversity and depth of women’s experience.

“These role models along with countless others demonstrate the importance of writing women back into history.”

The observance of women’s history began in 1978 in California as ‘Women’s History Week’ using March 8, International Women’s Day, as a focal point.

The movement grew in momentum until in the mid-eighties when it expanded to a month long celebration for women throughout the globe.

The Sistren is the imagining of the Wolverhampton-based Gazebo Theatre Company, which has been in existence for 34 years, providing professional theatre productions, theatre in education programmes and community arts projects.

Its past productions include Rivers To Cross, Jamaica 50 and Sorry! No Coloureds, No Irish, No Dogs. Part of their programme for 2014 includes The Sistren, which also invites audience members to participate in a post-show discussion.

Tickets cost £14 (schoolchildren £5).