FLY! Festival of Black Women’s Theatre
Where did the idea come from? There has never been a festival of Black women’s theatre comprising performances and workshops. Julia Pascal's article in The Guardian in April 2018 states:'In a recent survey, the Sphinx Theatre found that just a fifth of English theatres were led by women, who between them control just 13% of the total Arts Council England (ACE) theatre budget. This week, the feminist campaigning organisation the Fawcett Society called for quotas to get more women into key positions, after its Sex and Power Index revealed startling gender disparities in the public arena. The situation in theatre, where I have worked all my life, is a startling gauge of the marginalisation of women.'
Julia refers to the 'marginalisation' of women in general - but the situation regarding Black women in the theatre is even more catastrophic. We are not in possession of statistics and suspect they are lower for the UK but The Women's Theatre Festival in North Carolina conducted research between 2011 and 2015, concluding that 3.8% of theatre produced was Black women-led.
And so armed with frustration and determination, we put our heads together and created our blueprint.
FLY! Festival of Black Women’s Theatre – 19 – 23 June , a 5 day theatre festival held at University of Bristol, Bristol Old Vic and Arnolfini, involving masterclasses, workshops and a rich array of performances in June 2019. As well as providing networking opportunities, the sharing of expertise and the celebration of the outstanding talent we currently have in the UK, the gathering will allow us to articulate a clear strategy and identify points for action. We will be working collectively, and so will adopt a more equitable structure avoiding hierarchical panel formats. Workshops open to all women. Performances open to all.