International Women’s Day

6th March 2024

#InspiringInclusion this International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is on Friday 8th March, and it is an important day for women. It’s a day where we can celebrate our achievements and join forces to seek equality, diversity, and inclusion within our society.

In my mind, this celebration shouldn’t be kept to just one day. It should be all year round. We deserve to be recognised as the trailblazers we are, for our extraordinary contributions and so much more.

This year the theme is #InspireInclusion with the aim of forging ‘a more inclusive world for women.’

Here’s Rosemary in the #InspireInclusion pose. We invite you to share your photos with us on our social channels throughout the week.

Fighting for and speaking about women’s rights and gender parity is something we do regularly at The Play’s The Thing Theatre Company. It is at the heart of what we do. We understand just how important it is to be seen and our stories heard within this very male-dominated industry.

We use our experience and networks within our community to support all women with the arts and shine a spotlight on them. We pride ourselves on providing opportunities to female artists, actors, performers, playwrights, and the next generation by offering platforms to showcase their work within Milton Keynes and beyond.

Over the years we have:

  • Arranged and hosted two Taking the Stage’ events in 2019 and 2022 to celebrate and recognise inspirational local and national female professionals from the performing arts industry.

    We have seen a wealth of talent and inspiration take to the stage at MK Gallery, including Maureen Beattie, Polly Kemp, Julia Pascal, Chloe Todd Fordham, Wallis Hamilton Felton, Sue Parrish, April De Angelis, Jenny Sealey, Sarah Berger, plus local artists Carly Halse, Lisa Lovell, Shirley Jones and many more.  Audiences were lucky enough to see new pieces, hear interesting debates and conversations, watch new films, enjoy new writing and more from women and young people.

  • Showcased the work of four local women playwrights at Taking the Stage before taking two of these plays on tour.

  • The Hidden Stories tour encompassed two stories written by two local playwrights - our AD Rosemary Hill and Carly Halse - that told the true “hidden stories” of two women who were tried and executed for murder, Edith Thompson and Ruth Ellis.

  • Offering great opportunities through our community theatre company, Pepper's Ghost. We offer exciting roles both on stage and behind the curtain to local people who have a passion for theatre and want to gain experience within the industry.

In our current production, Not A Game For Girls by Benjamin Peel, which tells the true story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies FC (the pioneers of women’s football), we have a fantastic cast of local actors. We also have a great production team with some of them coming from Milton Keynes College.

Being able to expand our cast and crew's knowledge and experience will give them the skills they need to start an exciting career within theatre.
We are proud to be able to give these opportunities.

We enjoy telling the story of historic women, such as the Dick, Kerr Ladies. All have a tale to tell, and it is important to highlight and inform people of these powerful and inspirational stories that for one reason or another haven’t been told before.

We also enjoy working with the next generation of theatre makers to give them a positive springboard into the industry.

Some of our activities include:

  • Working with local schools and colleges to train and inspire the next generation of theatre makers and allow them to experience theatre whether it's on the stage or behind the curtain. We want to give them an all-round view of theatre and the endless possibilities available to them.

  • Forming a Creative Youth Board (CRB) to provide young people with training, support, and a platform to perform their own work to local audiences. They did this at ‘Taking the Stage’ having worked with both professional theatre company Haste and a local theatre dramaturg.

Our AD Rosemary Hill has worked so hard on providing these platforms within our community that she was recognised and won the Mayor of Milton Keynes Award for Arts, Culture and Heritage. These awards celebrate and show recognition to those who make a difference within our community.

It’s important to show the young people, particularly girls, coming into the industry just how hard we are fighting for them to find equality within the arts and in society.  We need to eliminate the bias now.

We’ve had to fight for our place on the stage. We wrote about women’s history (or her-story should we say) in theatre and how misogyny has been within the industry since it first began. We shouldn’t have to fight for this, especially not 650 years on!

One day I hope that we will be seen as equal, and we won’t have to have a special day like International Women’s Day to celebrate.
All our days will instead be filled with constant celebration and recognition!

But for now, we must #inspireinclusion and keep celebrating our achievements and working hard to make inclusion happen.