Lancaster University

This is archived news from Lancaster University. You can find up-to-date stories in our current news section.

Women in the Spotlight

03/17/2006 10:49:16

Performer Helen Paris who led a workshop for the Women's Writing for Performance project.
Performer Helen Paris who led a workshop for the Women's Writing for Performance project.

Women’s writing and performance will be celebrated at a special event at Lancaster University this April.

The three-day international conference ‘Women’s Writing for Performance: process and practice’ will take place from Friday April 28 to Sunday April 30 and is hosted by the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts. It is open to established and emerging artists, writers and academics.

The symposium is the culmination of a three-year project led by Professor Elaine Aston and Dr Geraldine Harris of Lancaster University and was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

It has focused on exploring ways that women approach writing and performance practice and the research has included a series of practical workshops led by contemporary artists and performers ranging from Perrier Award-winning comedian, author, actress, and radio personality Jenny Eclair to performance storyteller and film and television performer Vayu Naidu.

Other contributors included stage and television writer, poet and novelist Jackie Kay, award wining performance company Split Britches, distinguished performance poet and libretto writer SuAndi (OBE) and writer for theatre, television and radio Sarah Daniels who gave her workshop with radio 4 drama producer Sally Avens.

Professor Aston said: “We have been interested in what strategies women use in their 'writing for performance' practices and the implications of these for understanding gender representation. We have used the term ‘writing’ in the broadest sense of the term to include contributions women are making to theatre and performance from ‘traditional’ playwriting, to devising, storytelling, performance poetry, experimental performance and stand-up.”

Dr Harris said: Apart from our academic aims we wanted to use this project as a means of encouraging and supporting ‘emergent women practitioners. To this end the workshops were free of charge and have been attended by women of all ages and types from all over Britain. The creative energy in evidence at these events has been one of the most exciting aspects of the project.”

The April conference will feature presentations by internationally acclaimed academics and artists including US scholars Sue-Ellen Case and Janelle Reinelt, as well as established practitioners, such as Anna Furse, Kazuko Hohki, SuAndi, Kira O’Reilly and Rosie Lugosi.

The three day conference will also include performances by Bobby Baker, whose ‘Table Occasion No. 23’ will take place on the evening of Friday 28th April and on Saturday night, Split Britches will perform ‘Dress Suits For Hire’ in the Nuffield Theatre.

Meanwhile on Thursday April 27th Marisa Carnesky will also lead a one day practical workshop exploring the use of popular entertainment forms such as magic, burlesque and fairground in new performance. Participation will be by application – please contact the project administrator for an application form.

For further information contact Project Co-ordinator Susie Wood Tel: 01524 593448. E-mail:

Or go to