The amazing Irish movement #WakingTheFeminists (WTF) is continuing to make strides in Ireland and abroad; they’ve just made a significant mark on US soil after being presented with a special Lilly Award at the Signature Theatre, New York yesterday. The awards were established to honour the outstanding achievements of women in the American theatre, so the fact that a group from our own shores was awarded is a tremendous achievement as this is the first time the award has been given to a theatre practitioner or organisation outside of America.
Julia Jordan founder of The Lilly Awards said the work of the Irish movement mirrored that of the struggle in the US and highlighted the international fight for equality for women in theatre on a worldwide scale: “WTF was a visceral explosion that mirrored our own struggle in the U.S. to have women’s stories told and heard. It brought home how international this movement is. We are obviously just a piece of the larger push for equality for women and girls, but we are all responsible for our own little corner of the world, and the theatre is ours to fix.”
— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) May 24, 2016
For those that don’t know, the empowering WTF movement was sparked by the announcement late last year of the Abbey Theatre’s commemorative programme for 2016, Waking the Nation, in which only one of its ten plays was written by a woman. There was understandable outrage, fury and protest and then came WTF, calling for a sustained policy of inclusion and action plan, equal championing and advancement of women artists and economic parity for all working in theatre. The group has given up its time and resources to work for free and hopes to achieve equality in Irish theatre within five years – a big ask, but one these inspiring group of women is well able to take on.
Members Sarah Durcan and Dublin playwright Lisa Tierney-Keogh received the special award on behalf of WTF and lead campaigner Lian Bell said she was thrilled for what the win represented.
— Sarah Durcan (@SarahDurcan) May 24, 2016
“#WakingTheFeminists has always been about each of us taking personal responsibility to call out sexism when we see it, and supporting each other to do so. This award is a huge honour for all who continue to make their voices heard through the #WakingTheFeminists movement and a testament to how far the message travels when we shout together. It’s wonderful to have this moment to recognise the powerful solidarity that each of us feels with our feminist theatre colleagues around the world. Onwards!”