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There are women who have always refused the life of the socially acceptable woman. There are women who have been forgotten, erased, misinterpreted or much maligned by history. From warrior queens, defiant writers, unsung heroes, suffragettes and the plight of the ‘creative muse’; come join five writer/ performers as they re-tell the stories of some truly transgressive women in a night of storytelling, poetry, song and music.
Lucy Ribchester on the Suffragettes!
Magi Gibson on Camille Claudel, Stella Cartwright and other muses!
Jenny Lindsay on Sonia Orwell!
Mara Menzies on Queen Nzinga of Angola!
and very special guest Emma Pollock, with songs from ‘In Search of Harperfield.’
MORE ON THE ACTS AND THESE ‘DANGEROUS WOMEN’:
LUCY RIBCHESTER on THE SUFFRAGETTES
The suffragettes were a controversial group, led autocratically, split into tiers of militancy, and still debated today as to whether they helped or hindered the women’s cause. But beyond a few major headline-grabbing destructive acts lay an army of creative women causing vandalism and chaos without endangering human life. From Isabel Kelley’s daredevil skylight break-in into Dundee’s Kinnaird Hall to Evelina Haverfield’s horsewomanship, which she used to disrupt police horses during demonstrations, these women’s ingenuity may have been overlooked by history, but it was them that inspired the suffragettes of The Hourglass Factory.
Lucy Ribchester is a novelist and short story writer based in Edinburgh. Her stories have been shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Award and the Manchester Fiction Prize, and her debut novel The Hourglass Factory was longlisted for the Historical Writers Association Debut Crown. Last year she was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, during which she began her third novel, set in late 18th century Europe. She is also a dance critic for The List and an active community tutor in Creative Writing and Literacies.
MAGI GIBSON on CAMILLE CLAUDEL, STELLA CARTWRIGHT & OTHER MUSES
“I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better.” said Frida Kahlo. While poet Anna Swir said, “I will not be the slave to any love/To no one /Will I hand over my purpose in life/ My right to go on growing.” But what happens when a woman is ‘chosen’ as muse when she still a teen? Can she be muse and lover and “go on growing”? Camille Claudel, sculptor in late nineteenth century Paris was relentlessly pursued by Rodin when still a teen. Later many claimed he’d authored her best work. Being a muse is such a dangerous thing. As Stella Cartwright, the Muse of Rose Street discovered too. Can there be a happy ending for a creative soul? And how, if at all, will the story be written?
Magi Gibson has had four collections of poetry published, including Wild Women of a Certain Age. Her most recent, Washing Hugh MacDiarmid’s Socks was described in The National as “A joy to read”. Her work has appeared in many major anthologies, including Modern Scottish Women Poets (Canongate) and Scottish Love Poems (Canongate). Widely published in literary magazines, she won the Scotland on Sunday/Women 2000 prize for poetry, has held three Scottish Arts Council Creative Writing Fellowships, was RLF Writer in Residence at the University of Paisley, Writer in Residence with GoMA in Glasgow and Reader in Residence with Glasgow Women’s Library.
JENNY LINDSAY on SONIA ORWELL
Sonia Orwell was George Orwell’s second wife, and has largely been portrayed as a manipulative gold-digger who would stop at nothing to take control of Orwell’s legacy. But the truth about Sonia Orwell – who was the model for Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four – was altogether different. Loyal, fierce and intensely idealistic, she was also at the heart of London’s literary and artistic scene well before her marriage to Orwell changed her life forever. In this set, Jenny Lindsay weaves a story about Sonia Orwell, building on her highly praised portrayal of the character of Julia in her 2015 debut solo show, Ire & Salt, which featured in the 2015 Orwell Society Journal and received a 4 star review from The Scotsman.
Jenny regularly performs and hosts events all over Scotland and beyond with a blend of dry humour, social-commentary and story-telling. She was the ‘Rally’ of acclaimed literary cabaret Rally & Broad (2012 – 2016) and was the BBC Slam Champion in 2012. Her 2015 debut solo show Ire & Salt received a 4-star review from The Scotsman and praise from The Orwell Society for its depiction of Julia from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. In 2016 she founded Flint & Pitch Productions and was long-listed for the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2017. Jenny is known equally for her own writing and performance as she is for creating events that are “a beacon of brilliance on the live lit scene.” (The List, on Rally & Broad.)
MARA MENZIES on Queen Nzinga!
Mara Menzies is a Kenyan/Scottish storyteller passionate about the value and power of stories. She works with diverse audiences and loves transporting audiences to new worlds.
She tells the story of one of her idols. A woman who transcends time and place. Queen Nzinga of Angola, who died over 350 years ago and yet whose legacy serves as inspiration for women around the world to this day. Challenging the patriarchy of her day, she assumed power at the grand age of 50 to keep the Portuguese slave traders from taking her people. She was ruthless, proud and defiant with a brilliant strategic mind. Discover more about this extraordinary woman.
With very special guest:
EMMA POLLOCK: With songs from
IN SEARCH OF HARPERFIELD
A founding member of critically acclaimed Scottish band The Delgados, Emma Pollock was a writer and singer with the band during its 10-year life span, disbanding in 2005. During this time the band released 5 studio albums, including 2000’s Mercury nominated album ‘The Great Eastern’ and toured extensively worldwide.
Emma is also a founding director of both Scotland’s longest running independent record company Chemikal Underground (est 1995) and its sister recording studio Chem19 (est 1997).
Following The Delgados’ demise, Emma became a solo artist and has since released 3 solo albums; ‘Watch The Fireworks’ (4AD) 2007, ‘The Law Of Large Numbers’ (Chemikal Underground) 2010 & ‘In Search of Harperfield’ (Chemikal Underground) 2016.
In addition, she has also taken part in many collaborative projects over the years; she was one of the 8 members of ‘The Burns Unit’ (also featuring King Creosote & Karine Polwart) until their disbanding in 2013 and has written and played often with artist RM Hubbert; co-writing the song ‘Halflight’ which appeared on his SAY 2013 Award winning album ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ and ‘Monster In The Pack’ which appeared on Emma’s 3rd long player in 2016.
Emma continues to write in preparation for recording a fourth solo record later this year.
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