A feminist movement created inadvertently by the Abbey Theatre’s centenary programme for 2016 is gaining such ground that a debate will be hosted today (12 November) at 1pm in the theatre to discuss gender equality.
#WakingTheFeminists has been trending on Twitter for a few days now and, for those unaware, it primarily came about upon the release of the Abbey’s schedule for next year.
Waking the Nation was supposed to be a unifying call to Irish citizens, 100 years since the Easter Rising. Instead, due to it being an almost entirely male-dominated run of plays, it has sparked a fire among feminists.
Of the 10 plays on the programme, nine were written by men. This was something not addressed until Twitter users spoke out, with the director of the Abbey, Fiach Mac Conghail, initially handling the situation rather terribly.
Also, sometimes plays and ideas that we have commissioned by and about women just don't work out. That has happened. Them the breaks.
— Fiach Mac Conghail (@fmacconghail) October 29, 2015
He then, though, spoke in somewhat revelatory terms, saying: “The fact that I haven’t programmed a new play by a female playwright is not something I can defend.
“This experience has presented a professional challenge to me as a programmer and has made me question the filters and factors that influence my decision-making.”
It is these “filters and factors” that, one suspects, will be investigated in minute detail at a debate at the Abbey at lunchtime today. There is even a website set up supporting the movement.
— Fiach Mac Conghail (@fmacconghail) November 12, 2015
And it’s something worth following on Twitter, you may be surprised who has thrown their support behind the movement already.
— Lisa Tierney-Keogh (@lisatk) November 12, 2015
— Oonagh Murphy (@oonaghmurphy) November 12, 2015
— Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) November 12, 2015
@BreffniHolahan Not my best/not my worst
— Breffni Holahan (@BreffniHolahan) November 11, 2015
— Kate Canning (@KatieCan1) November 12, 2015
— Gillian Fenton (@gillyfenton) November 12, 2015
— Children'sTheatre (@ctheatrereviews) November 12, 2015
— Helen O'Rahilly (@HelenORahilly) November 12, 2015
— Landmark Productions (@landmarkireland) November 9, 2015
Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Open Eir (formerly Eircom Wholesale), Fidelity Investments, Accenture and CoderDojo.
Play image via Criben / Shutterstock