Women and War: EXODUS is a month-long multi-disciplinary festival examining the impact of war on women and the roads they take and the changes they make to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Any time, any place, any war, any woman.
Now in its second year, Women and War: EXODUS will focus on displacement and what it is to be a refugee, from any period of history and any part of the world. It will celebrate the lives of some of the courageous women from across the world through theatre, music, dance, art, film, performance, poetry, craft, cuisine, and comedy.
Actress Rula Lenska leads this year’s festival fundraiser, An Evening With Rula Lenska at So & So At The Bridge, just by London Bridge Station on Saturday June 17th. She performs a dramatised reading of Peace And War: Extracts from the Memoirs of Elizabeth Carroll, Rula’s mother who came to the UK as a refugee from Poland in 1946. Tickets are priced at £10 and are available at www.womenandwar.co.uk. Door open at 7pm with the performance beginning at 7.30pm. A post-show Q&A follows.
The festival will host work from around the globe, visiting Colombia, Myanmar, Chile, Poland, Mali, Afghanistan, India and Iran documenting, exploring and giving voice to the experiences of women, before, during and after war.
This year, the festival is based in a pop-up theatre in South London breathing life back into Streatham Hill Theatre, just ten minutes from Brixton and right by Streatham Hill station.
Festival Director and Executive Producer Sarah Berger said: “This year’s Women and War Festival, EXODUS, is a celebration and tribute to the resourcefulness and courage of women from across the world who have found themselves displaced because of war.
“At a time when the rights of women are under attack in sharing our multiple cultures, we will demonstrate that even though we may feel helpless in the face of the greatest diaspora in living history, by listening, bearing witness, and sharing in these extraordinary stories, we can make a difference. Any of those women could be your mother, your sister, your daughter, or you. It is not a story of them; it is a story of us.”
“This is a multi-disciplinary opportunity to laugh, cry, imagine, witness, and share the lives and cultures of women from across the world.”
Supporter, actress and Fascinating Aida member Dillie Keane added: “When first I visited Women and War last year, what shocked me was that it was the first of its kind - and that it was long overdue. This year’s festival focuses on refugeeism and displacement, and it seems to me it couldn’t be timelier given what’s happening in the world, politically speaking. Do yourself a favour and go to at least one of the events. You’ll come away better informed, and maybe a little bit empowered. Go.”
FESTIVAL GALA OPENING – 3 JULY 2017 @7pm
A special performance of Hurried Steps - a hard-hitting powerful text by award-winning Italian writer Dacia Maraini and New Shoes Theatre preceded by Your Voice by Mark Ravenhill read by Madhav Sharma.
Hurried Steps uses real stories to raise awareness of different forms of violence against women and girls and was written in collaboration with Amnesty International. The performance will feature the British premiere of the new FGM story specially written by Maraini, the renowned playwright, novelist, poet and journalist who has devoted much of her life to women’s issues and was nominated for both the Man Booker Prize (2011) and the Nobel Prize for Literature (2012).
All tickets cost £20 and proceeds from this performance will go to the The Farkhunda Trust, a charity that supports the education of women in Afghanistan
COLOMBIA DAY – 4 JULY 2017
Organised by the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission of Colombian Women in the Diaspora and supported by Conciliation Resources, Colombia Day is a unique opportunity to meet incredibly inspiring Colombian women living in London. Learn from their experiences as conflict survivors, migrants, peacebuilders, and community organisers through an exhibition, short film, music, and performance.
In addition to a photography exhibition featuring various members of the Commission, Imagine Peace, the central piece of the day will be the monologue Victoria presented by Alejandra Borrero, one of the most renowned actresses in Colombia. Victoria is a tribute to the experiences of Ana Victoria Bastidas, a survivor of the Colombian conflict, who was kidnapped by armed traffickers after speaking out about the young girls she’d noticed had gone missing in the remote community in which she was working. On leaving Colombia, Ana Victoria came to the UK, where she dedicated her life to the Anglican Church. She will be ordained – the first female Colombian Anglican priest – at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 1 July.
The Women and War: Exodus festival is privileged to have Ana Victoria introduce the piece herself, before her friend Alejandra performs the monologue as a celebration of her amazing story or courage and healing.
More information on the full programme for the day can be found here: www.womenandwar.co.uk/colombia-day
DRAMA, MUSIC AND DANCE
FLOWERS THAT FLOAT (ON THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA)
Join the fantastic, travelling circus for a future of joy, security and freedom! But be careful, no circus is ever what it seems. More than ever, ‘home’ is a transient and non-concrete idea. This production tackles the complex emotions relating to ‘home’ and ‘belonging’, as experienced by women who were left with no choice but to flee their homeland. It tells the stories of women who courageously march their families across the world, armed with the singular hope for safety and freedom.
WOMEN AT WAR: SISTERHOOD KNOWS NO BORDERS
Rebecca Johannsen’s solo performance piece asks what happens when women engage in combat? Does it change the way we engage in conflict? What does it uncover about expected gender roles? How does it impact men and women deployed to a part of the world where women have no voice? Women At War combines the verbatim interviews with women in the US Army’s Female Engagement Team deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-2013 along with poetry, movement, visual art, and music. Using movement, visual imagery, and verbatim dialogue, Women At War blows apart verbal language to explore the nature of trauma. Prior to the Edinburgh Festival.
CHASED OUT – BELLE SCAR
Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Belle Scar will take the audience to a surreal world where metamorphosis, freedom, rebellion, survival and reverie are intertwined. With her wide vocal range and powerful live performances, Belle Scar casts a spell on the audience with the first note she sings.
ORZU ARTS PRESENTS: SHE - THE SHAKTI
Returning to the festival for a second year, Orzu Arts present the dance-drama: She - The Shakti… From a manifestation of divine energy, the fierce warrior who destroys evil, to Parvati, the goddess of love, to Durga unleashing her anger against wrong, to Kali, the dark deity of the tantric yogis, the many female forms in Indian mythology provide a fascinating study of how the woman has been portrayed through the ages.
ART AND EXHIBITIONS
Afsoon is an Iranian born, London based artist. Occident and Orient coexist in her works, which are multi layered and often combine text with images, using various media such as Linocuts, watercolour, photography, collage, and etching. She returns emotionally to her motherland via her work, which results from painstaking research into her chosen subject matter. Afsoon’s works have been extensively exhibited and can be found worldwide in prominent collections and museums, including the British Museum and Berger/YSL Collection, among others. She showcases two prints of War Carpets she has designed which will be on display throughout the festival.
WOMEN AND WAR FESTIVAL SINGLE
2017 will see the creation of the first Women and War: EXODUS single Rise Up, Now, written by Rob Castell. The aim is to feature as many contributing musicians and singers from around the world as possible to highlight not only the stories of refugees from around the world, but also their talent and resilience through the shared language of music.
2017 FESTIVAL PROGRAMME
AN EVENING WITH RULA LENSKA - A FUNDRAISER FOR WOMEN AND WAR:EXODUS
So & So At The Bridge - 42 Weston St, London SE1 3QD
Rula performs a dramatized reading of Peace and War: Extracts from the Memoirs of Elizabeth Carroll, her mother who left Poland as a refugee in 1946. Followed by a Q&A.
Tickets are priced £10 and all proceeds go towards the Women and War: Exodus Festival.
For more information visit: www.womenandwar.co.uk/rula-lenska
DRAMA, MUSIC, ART, DANCE
Afsoon is an Iranian artist.
After spending her childhood in Iran and late teens and early twenties in San Francisco, she settled in London. Her nomadic life is reflected in my work where East merges with West and the result is at once familiar and foreign. There are several layers in her work and at times she combines text with images. She also combines different techniques such as linocut, photography, collage and etching. The result is a rich yet often playful and humorous tableau in which the audience is able to engage and interpret in its own way. In January 2008 the British Museum purchased two series of Afsoon’s work for its contemporary Middle Eastern collection.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/afsoon
Baba's war is an exploration of how war affects the individual- the individual in question being my Polish grandmother. With cake, music, anecdotes and the inherited trauma theory, Baba's War is a poignant, and often funny, look at identity and what makes us who we are.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/babas-war
CHASED OUT – BELLE SCAR
Belle Scar will take the audience to a surreal world where metamorphosis, freedom, rebellion, survival and reverie are intertwined.
With her wide vocal range and powerful live performances, Belle Scar casts a spell on the audience with the first note she sings.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/belle-scar
Ellie Moon performs a rehearsed reading, directed by Jemma Gross.
Based on a true story about a group of individuals in Canada, who began the process of privately sponsoring a Syrian Refugee Family, until a conflict in the group led to the end of the sponsorship.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/fake-news
FLOWERS THAT FLOAT (ON THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA)
Join the fantastic, travelling circus for a future of joy, security and freedom! But be careful, no circus is ever what it seems.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/flowers-that-float
MEDEA, THE OUTCAST
Presented by Orzu Arts.
This piece draws on ancient Greek stories by Euripides & Seneca, and on modern author Heiner Mueller.
The setting is an abandoned and desolate border area.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/medea
RIGHT LEFT WITH HEELS
RIGHT and LEFT are the shoes of Magda Goebbels.
Condemned to forced exile by the western public, they decide to have a conversation about blame and responsibility. It's time to pay attention, because it's your version of history they're questioning.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/right-left-with-heels
SHE THE SHAKTI
Also presented by Orzu Arts.
A poignant visualisation enacted as a dance-drama, it is a narrative that shakes taboos and straitjackets. More than anything, SHE makes you think.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/she-the-shakti
Fermín Cabal’s play is a celebration of human rights, a cry against totalitarianism.
Focusing on the story of one woman the play is a compelling memory piece of the 3,000 who were violently killed during General Pinochet’s fascist regime which lasted from 1973 to 1990 in Chile.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/tejas-verdes
THE TROJAN WOMEN
War has come. What you know, is no more.
In a post-nuclear fall-out, with the enemy coming, an aging queen tries to keep her people together, a princess tries to save her son and the surviving women stand together.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/the-trojan-women
THE WAITING ROOM
By Roni Yaniv in collaboration with the performers.
Through looking into her grandmothers’ memories from the war, combined with reflections on her own life, Roni Yaniv attempts to investigate what are the things that make us feel alive.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/the-waiting-room
UNDER THE SKIN
Under The Skin, set in Neuengamme concentration camp in 1944 and in Tel-Aviv in 1991, is a powerful play based on the true and remarkable story of an impossible lesbian love affair between a Nazi officer and a Jewish prisoner.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/under-the-skin
The central piece of the evening programme dedicated to Colombian women and peace, at this year’s Exodus festival. Giving voice to the experience of a woman survivor of the conflict in Colombia, the piece was written originally by Ana Victoria Bastidas as a testimonial account of the events that took place many years ago on the Pacific coast of Colombia.
For more information: https://www.womenandwar.co.uk/colombia-day
WOMEN AT WAR: SISTERHOOD KNOWS NO BORDERS
What happens when women engage in combat? Does it change the way we engage in combat?
Devised from interviews with women in the US Army’s Female Engagement Team, whose mission was to engage with Afghani women. Using verbatim, poetry, and movement, the lives of the women of the FET are intertwined with the women of Afghanistan.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/women-at-war
FESTIVAL GALA OPENING – 3 JULY 2017
Hurried Steps is a hard hitting, powerful text by award-winning Italian writer, Dacia Maraini. It will open 2017's Women and War: EXODUS festival at Streatham Hill Theatre, with an all-star cast, to be announced soon. To start the evening, Madhav Sharma will read Your Voice by Mark Ravenhill.
All tickets cost £20 (including one drink) and proceeds from this performance will go to the The Farkhunda Trust, a charity that supports the education of women in Afghanistan.
For more information: www.womenandwar.co.uk/festival-opening
COLOMBIA DAY – 4 July 2017
Organised by the Truth, Memory and Reconciliation Commission (TMRC) of Colombian Women in the Diaspora and supported by Conciliation Resources, Colombia Day is a unique opportunity to meet incredibly inspiring Colombian women living in London. Learn from their experiences as conflict survivors, migrants, peacebuilders, and community organisers through an exhibition, short film, music, and performance.
The TMRC was established in London in 2015 to empower women of the diaspora to play a role in the process of building peace in Colombia. The Commission believes that the migratory experiences and skills of the diaspora are assets in the peacebuilding process, and should inform Colombia’s collective historical memory. In addition, the project seeks to contribute to healing the trauma created by decades of conflict, and support the integration of the diaspora in their host countries. A considerable part of the Commission’s work has been to document the impact of war and of migration on women and to understand the ways in which women have learnt to cope with their traumatic experiences.
For more information: www.c-r.org/where-we-work/latin-america/truth-memory-and-reconciliation-commission-colombian-women-diaspora
Conciliation Resources is an independent international organisation working with people in conflict to prevent violence, resolve conflicts and promote peaceful societies. It provides practical support to help people affected by violent conflict achieve lasting peace, drawing on shared experiences to improve peacebuilding policies and practice worldwide.
WHERE TO FIND US
Streatham Hill Theatre | 110 Streatham Hill | Lambeth | London | SW2 4RD
Ten minutes from Brixton Underground station via the 109, 133, 159, or 333 buses, running from bus stop P outside the station.
Nearest bus stop to Streatham Hill Theatre is Telford Avenue, from there cross the road at the traffic lights and head in the same direction until you reach the theatre with Women and War (and Bingo) signage. The Women and War entrance is on the right.
Alternatively, there are regular train services to Streatham Hill station from either London Bridge or Victoria.
Streatham Hill Theatre is a Grade 2 listed building and, as such, is not accessible via lift to the event spaces on the 1st and 2nd floors. If you have accessibility needs, please contact the festival organisers via the festival website.
Please note, due to venue licensing laws, entry is strictly 18+
Be the first to see our exclusive Theatre News cast interviews by subscribing to our brand new Youtube channel
as well as our Twitter