Nottingham Playhouse. The Party Somewhere Else, 20th – 24th March.

The Party Somewhere Else, a Nottingham-based collective of maverick creatives who happen to be women, are pleased to announce the exciting programme for the first ever ‘The Party Somewhere Else’ Festival – a week-long programme of performances and workshops led by women, to be showcased at Nottingham Playhouse   20th to 24th March 2018.

Highlights of the programme include: Katie Arnstein’s Bicycles and Fish, which she brings to Nottingham fresh off the back of five star reviews at London’s VAULT Festival; shows from Dance 4 supported artists Nicola Carter and Kimberley Harvey; and immersive literary cabaret The Full Bronte, in which critically acclaimed company Scary Little Girls take a raucous look at the work of the Bronte sisters. 

One evening has been supported and curated by Camden People’s Theatre, who have programmed two shows which will have their East Midlands premieres as part of the festival: SEXY by Vanessa Kisuule and Temporary by Libby Liburd, both highlights of the renowned Calm Down, Dear festival. Camden People’s Theatre Artistic Director Brian Logan said:

“We at Camden People’s Theatre are thrilled to be supporting The Party Somewhere Else on their new festival of female-led theatre. With our own annual festival Calm Down, Dear, we’ve done our best to support and champion the most exciting feminist theatre in the UK and beyond. When the opportunity arose to help these terrific theatre-makers in the East Midlands do something similar, we jumped at it. We’re proud to be involved, and can’t wait to see the work that this exciting new event will bring to the stage.”

Other events taking place during the week include performances from BAFTA nominated actor and writer Leanne Davis, Notnow Collective, Mellow Baku, Tessa Parr and Vertebra Theatre. There will also be a workshop about the legacy of Suffragettes and women’s voting rights run by Kate Willoughby in conjunction with Centenary Cities Nottingham.  

The Party Somewhere Else are a collective of women working in theatre in Nottingham, and include among their number actors, writers, directors, producers, designers, workshop leaders and dramatherapists. They were brought together by a shared frustration at the lack of women-led theatre locally and nationally, as well as the different barriers faced by women of colour, working class women, older women, disabled women and mothers working in the arts. Women continue to be underrepresented in theatre. Even though women buy (approximately) 65% of theatre tickets, they still only account for 36% of professional directors, 28% of professional playwrights and 39% of professional actors. The goal of The Party Somewhere Else is to create events that showcase and celebrate work made by women and to champion female-led projects, all while giving everyone a great night out.  Since launching in July 2017, the collective have hosted a sold out event featuring work in progress by five female-led companies and artists, and a recent open house and open mic event to provide a space to talk about diversity in the arts and highlight music, performance and poetry made by women. 

Director Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie said: “Women don’t always get invited to take a seat at the party table, so we’ve ditched the table and invited everyone. The Party Somewhere Else is chance for women to lead, and to ensure everyone is truly welcomed. If cultural institutions won’t lead the way, then sisters’ll do it for themselves!” 

Dramatherapist Nikki Disney said: “I see women at work everyday who feel disempowered with the inability to have their voice heard. Having a space that is specifically for YOUR voice, for the things you want to say, allows you to feel less apologetic for having it”.

The name ‘The Party Somewhere Else’ was inspired by a speaker at a conference organised by Sphinx Theatre Company attended by Hannah Stone and Tilly Branson five years ago. When asked how women should deal with the frustration of not being included in their own industry, she said “if you’re not being invited to the party, go and have the party somewhere else”. 

Acts for the festival were selected after a national callout for performances in which women had at least fifty percent of the creative agency. Director Tilly Branson explains: “by ‘creative agency’, we mean who is getting to make decisions about what the story being told is, who gets a say in how it’s told, who has a voice in the creative process and/or in the performance itself. We’re certainly not excluding men and have had lots of men attend our events to date”.

The full festival line up and links to book tickets are all online at www.thepartysomewhereelse.co.uk 

FULL FESTIVAL LINE UP:

TUESDAY 20th MARCH

18.45-19.45: Lost In Labour, Nicola Carter

Drawing on autobiographical experience, ‘Lost in Labour’ wryly explores the relationship between the rhythms of work, labour and leisure and the indelible effect on identity and the physical self: a show that is spectacularly low key!

20.30-21.30: Wonderwoman: The Naked Truth, Notnow Collective

A hilariously funny and brutally honest look at motherhood in one show with two mums on stage and three kids in the dressing room. 

WEDNESDAY 21st MARCH

19.45-22.00: The Party Somewhere Else Scratch Night – work in progress by a selection of artists, full line up TBA.

THURSDAY 22nd MARCH – highlights of Calm Down, Dear Festival programmed by Camden People’s Theatre

17.45-18.30: Jonny The Biblical Rapper, Tessa Parr

Johnny is a very serious Spoken Word Poet. Johnny is a man, I am a woman. I perform Johnny.

18.45-19.45: Temporary, Libby Liburd

Filled with humour, heart and hard facts, ‘Temporary’ explores the social and political reasons for the surge in households in temporary accommodation. Presented in association with Camden People’s Theatre.

20.30-21.30: SEXY, Vanessa Kissule

SEXY uses truthful wit and clever verse to explore our conflicted relationship with our bodies and sexiness, exploring our obsession with what is sexy through comedy, spoken word, dance and various states of undress. Presented in association with Camden People’s Theatre.

FRIDAY 23rd MARCH

14.00-15.00: Your Voice Matters! (#ReadytoVote18) workshop, with Kate Willoughby from #Emilymatters

A call to action workshop that weaves the story of the suffragettes with contemporary voting matters.

17.30-18.30: Inky Matter, Kimberley Harvey (Subtle Kraft)

‘Inky Matter’ is a solo performance inspired by letters – the ones we have written and received, but also those that remain unwritten.

18.45-19.30: At The Heart of Things, Vertebra Theatre

Dance-puppetry exploring sexuality and identity.

20.30-21.30: Soon Come […] Home, Mellow Baku

Mellow Baku creates a potent, captivating performance, inviting the audience to explore what home means with music, word and digital artwork.  

SATURDAY 24th MARCH

13.30-16.30: The Party Somewhere Else Open House

A free drop in event to come and join in an ongoing conversation about women and diversity in the arts. Meet, mingle, listen, talk, laugh, and cry if you want to, while we discuss, create and wrestle with some key questions about what is important in getting diverse female stories on stage. Open to people of all genders all who wish to support female and non-binary voices being heard in the arts, and who have an interest in or represent the diverse spectrum of female experience in the arts – performers, creatives, and potential audience members. 

16.30-17.20: Bicycles and Fish, Katie Arnstein and Tangram Theatre

How I became a woman. A Period Piece. With Songs. 

18.45-19.35: The Luggage Thief, Leanne Davis

Rose needs to tell you her story but she’s worried you won’t believe her. A cautionary tale set at sea. Or for the better part, underneath it. Storytelling for grown-ups. 

20.30-21.30: The Full Bronte, Scary Little Girls

A Literary Cabaret about the Bronte Sisters.

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