Female led Festival celebrates local artists at ERT this July

Lois Mills’ one-woman sketch show Weirdo

She Productions will take over East Riding Theatre for 2 weeks (9- 20 July) with She Fest 2019. Working alongside East Riding Theatre’s recently awarded Artist in Residence, Emma Garness, the theatre will be ‘hostess’ to workshops, art exhibitions, cabaret and comedy, all led by local female-identifying artists and business owners. 

She Productions’ Director Annie Kirkman says: “The theatre industry is bursting with talented female artists yet still there are not enough roles, spaces or opportunities to allow these professionals to celebrate their work. We set up She Productions in order to write more stories driven by the female (Northern) voice and over 4 years we’ve learnt just how freeing and creative it can be to support other women. This festival is hopefully the first of many where we can elevate as many other women as possible”.

Daytime events include Wild Thing Yoga with Katie Huntsman; Sip & Sing Workshops; French Conversation Classes; Graffiti and Macramé workshops both led by Emma Garness. In the evenings the company are thrilled to present Beverley Comedian, Lois Mills’ one-woman sketch show Weirdo, and Performance Historian Hollyzone History’s informal theatrical lecture, Fearsome Fabulous Female Pirates. 

Lois Mills, actress and stand-up comedian says: “ Us lasses need to support one another so this festival and this company are a breath of fresh air. In a male-dominated industry, I am proud to be representing the ladies of comedy. I am also beyond excited to perform at ERT and in my home town!”

The festival will close with 4 eclectic cabaret Shevenings (17-20 July) hosted by She Productions’ Annie Kirkman, Jessica Duffield and Alice Rose Palmer with guest performances from Zoe the clown; singer-songwriter Grace Christiansen; local comedian Kellii! Taylor; the original members of 1960 Hull band Mandy & The Girlfriends; Pole Dancer India Alton from Indigo Pole; and Visual Artist Anna Bean alongside Michelle Dee, performing spoken word, with costume and set inspired by Leonora Carrington. 

To add to the excitement there will be a mini market in the bar before, during and after each Shevening, where audiences can purchase bespoke jewellery, prints, handmade cards and vintage clothes from local, female-led businesses. Post-show discussions will close each show, with themes including ‘Women & Art’ and ‘Women & Writing’. There will be a drop-off available at the festival for sanitary products and women’s clothing, which will be distributed to various local Women’s Services.

As She Productions head into their 4th year as an all-female, Beverley-based collective, they have expanded the company into 3 clear strands: She Inspires Young People, She Engages Community, She Empowers Everyone. Each strand relates to the various ongoing projects the company have learned to juggle skillfully, from their Finding Your Voice outreach programmes for unemployed people with ERYC, ,to their Arts Council-funded annual Young People’s Programme of 4 original family musicals. They hope to use She Fest as an opportunity to celebrate the range of work they do, and to educate those who are new to the company in what their mission is: to make women heard. 

She Fest 2019 runs from 9th-20th July at East Riding Theatre. Booking for all events can be found at www.eastridingtheatre.co.uk or www.sheproductions.co.uk

[Annie Kirkman – She Productions]