Many Maids Make Much Noise: A workshop/performance research session

Thursday 21 July 2016, 2-6pm

SylviaPankhurstProtestingDrawing

A workshop/performance research session led by theatre director Yael Shavit and Olivia Plender.

This workshop is the second in an ongoing series and departs from Olivia Plender’s research into the history of the East London Federation of Suffragettes who were based in Bethnal Green and Bow in the early 20th century. The suffragettes are well know for their campaign for votes for women, but the ELFS also campaigned on many issues which still present a problem to women and people today such as housing, equal pay, working conditions, specialist health care for mothers and children and so on.

In the workshop we will think about the effects of political and institutional structures, hierarchies, power and authority on the body and the voice. In the example of the Suffragettes, they were often engaged in direct confrontations with the police and many of them suffered violence and torture at the hands of the British political system whilst in prison. However, there are also many more subtle ways in which our bodies are affected by different political and institutional structures. In line with the feminist approach where the ‘personal is political’ we will address our own experiences and how the structures that we inhabit and the institutions that we encounter have affected our bodies and our voices, such as work, the welfare system, hospitals, the institution of the family and so on. We will also consider the voiceless-ness and feelings of invisibility that can result from encounters with political and institutional structures, who has the right to speak in public, the difference between the collective and individual voice and how this is affected by our gender, race and class.

This is a performance based research session and so the techniques that we will use are drawn from the workshop methods that Yael uses in her work in the theatre. In this second workshop we will focus on how we use our voices and in a gentle way we will share experiences and explore our relation to the historical material. The workshop is open to people of all genders. Spaces are limited so if you are interested in attending, please email to confirm your place.