Nottingham-based collective The Party Somewhere Else have announced the full programme for their inaugural festival, which will take place at the Nottingham Playhouse from 20-24 March 2018. The group is made up entirely of female creatives (from actors to directors, designers to dramatherapists), and they have put together a series of performances and workshops that will be led by women over these five days next month.
Katie Arnstein’s 5* Bicycles and Fish transfers from the VAULT Festival, Scary Little Girls bring their immersive cabaret The Full Bronte, and Kate Willoughby runs a workshop (#ReadyToVote18) about the Suffragettes’ legacy and women’s right to vote.
“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!”
Siobhán Cannon-Brownlie (director)
Other highlights include an evening curated by Camden People’s Theatre, bringing a couple of shows from their ‘Calm Down, Dear’ festival to the midlands: Vanessa Kisuule’s SEXY and Libby Liburd’s Temporary. Brian Logan (artistic director of Camden People’s Theatre) said, “We’re proud to be involved, and can’t wait to see the work that this exciting new event will bring to the stage.”
The festival also welcomes Leanne Davis (BAFTA-nominated actor & writer), Notnow Collective, Mellow Baku, Tessa Parr and Vertebra Theatre. Nicola Carter draws on autobiographical experience with Lost In Labour (looking at work, labour & leisure), and Kimberley Harvey brings Inky Matter to the stage (inspired by letters received, written & unwritten) – both are supported by Dance 4.
On Wednesday 21 March, The Party Somewhere Else will hold another scratch night; keep an eye out for updates on artists who will form part of that line-up. Also, on the final afternoon (Saturday 24 March), they will host an open house for those who want to drop in and join the conversation about women and diversity in the arts – open to all genders.
“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.”
Nikki Disney (dramatherapist)
The Party Somewhere Else got its name from an answer to a question raised at a conference that collective members Tilly Branson (Think of England director) & Hannah Stone attended five years ago: “If you’re not being invited to the party, go and have the party somewhere else.”
The collective came together as they share a frustration at the lack of women-led theatre (locally & nationally), and the different barriers all women face (whether disabled, working class or women of colour) if they want to pursue a career in the arts. Women buy around 65% of theatre tickets, but are underrepresented when it comes to professionally directing (36%), writing (28%) and acting (39%).
So the collective’s aim is to champion female-led projects, and one of the criteria for the festival was for women to have a minimum of 50% of the creative agency. 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 Party Somewhere Else’ Festival will run at Nottingham Playhouse from 20-24 March 2018. Tickets are available online or from the box office.