In 2017, the Women’s Voices project saw the start of a new research and development project that used dance and the arts to create a performance authored by many women, unpicking attitudes and behaviours surrounding Shame and Honour in relationships towards women’s bodies and sexuality, and weaving together common threads across different cultures.
The project co-ordinated by choreograher Alys North, ran workshops with 4 diverse women groups across NE that invited creative expression via participative arts processes, drawn from the artistic team’s backgrounds in dance, poetry, painting & installation art. Our The work was shaped by a collaboration between 4 dancers & the original artists who ran the creative sessions with the women working alongside visual artist Polly Turner in an intensive creation week to create an original combined-arts work-in-progress performance which was performed to participants, industry professionals & youth audience at Dance City, Newcastle in October 2017.
Drawing on women’s testimony/creative expressions, professional artists devised a dance-theatre piece incorporating visual art/text, supported by installation artist Polly Turner, dramaturg Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh & dancers Alice Henry, Nadia Iftkhar & Alicia Colette Meehan, hosted by Dance City in 6 day residency, ending with sharing for participants, industry professionals/influential programmers & youth audience drawn from partner schools/colleges to: ensure work feelt relevant/true to overlapping experience of diverse groups; this helped us to gain critical feedback to inform refinement and shape our intended plans for a public tour beyond R&D in 2019.
The project will work towards creating an outcome that will:
Create a platform where the women we work with can define how they believe their bodies and sexuality should be treated and respected;
Raise awareness of how we all participate in judging women’s bodies and sexuality through exploring how attitudes of shame and honour manifest themselves;
Create a space for reflection about how we can empower, support and respect women better, bringing attention to women’s common experience across cultural differences.
With thanks to:
The Young Women’s Outreach Project Gateshead
The Comfrey Project Gateshead
The Halo Project – Break The Silence, Middlesborough