"What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives"
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (author and aviator)
A year to the day since I rolled up with a dozen girlfriends in tow, for a "circus experience" afternoon. It also happened to be International Women's Day, which hadn't registered initially but was so apt as we were a complete hotchpotch of nationalities, just the ticket for the BBC crew that turned up there filming and interviewing for a travel programme.
|Lucy Ribchester at the Brixton Book Jam|
As we march towards that date again, I have found this week to be a celebration of sisterhood and friendship. And I swear by the "F" word. Feminisim. That marmite word you either love or hate. Feminism may signify to some dungarees and DMs, the man-eating Miss Guided. For me it signifies a reclamation of space and redressing the balance. A positive celebration of female empowerment does not connote a castration of manhood. Because I am more, does not make you any the less. And this circus adventure over the past year has brought it home.
Recently, reading Lucy Ribchester's "The Hourglass Factory" a page-turner of a conspiracy set amidst the suffragette movement (click here for post: Circus Strongwoman) has brought home how far we have come since the days when women were either stuffed into corsets or stuffed into Holloway. Funnily enough I met Lucy this week at the Brixton Book Jam at Hootananny's, after watching her on stage read aloud from the prologue, where the suffragette trapeze artist, Ebony Diamond, is preparing for a leap of faith in more ways than one. It struck me that a circus woman historically has been regarded as a figure of emancipation. Independent and strong.
|Superheroines - the artists|
Anne and I left them and walked all the way home, some 7 miles. The journey became a sort of cultural pilgrimage as we dipped into a friend's art gallery en route, bumped into one of my static trapeze teachers from Circus Space, and generally set the world to rights.
As Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre) said in her talk at Battersea Arts Centre last week: "We all have a chance, all of us, to do something to make the world a bit more positive". So if you are free tomorrow, Sunday 8th March, join the women and girls for some or all of the painting, which begins at 8am in the morning at the Vault tunnel. Make your mark.
|8 March 2014|
NOTE: Kaveh Rahnama (pictured) was our course instructor that afternoon. Fitting then that a year on, to the day, we will be going to see his directorial debut of Genius Sweatshop's Lab Rat and mind-altering puppetry in the Firsts Festival at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington, tomorrow (and on Monday too) click here for more information: www.littleangeltheatre.com
Sunday at the Vault Tunnel with Femme Fierce was a truly incredible community experience. Took my girls and we met women, and men, who had travelled from all over the world for this inspirational event.
Read more about it here in my circus partner-in-crime Anne's superb blog post and sign up for next year!
On Femme Fierce, International Women's Day, Leake Street and more Gorgeous Graffiti