The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII International Tour
Imagined re-creation of moments from the lives of women in WWII
By Deirdre Kinahan, Mary Moynihan, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Paul Kennedy
The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII is a creative reimagining of moments from the lives of women during WWII recalling stories of bravery, sacrifice and love amidst the horror of war, as women stood up against fascism and totalitarianism and refused to accept oppression. Each performance is followed by a post-show discussion with the artists and invited guest speakers to explore powerful women’s stories in history and themes of gender equality and peace in Ireland, Northern Ireland and internationally. The performance goes on national and international tour to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Germany from September 2017 to February 2018.
Women’s stories in the performance include Mary Elmes (1908-2002), a Cork woman who was the first Irish person honoured as ‘Righteous Among Nations’ for her work saving Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers during World War II; Ettie Steinberg (1914-42) the only female Jewish Irish citizen known to have been murdered in Auschwitz; Marta Hillers (1911-2001) from Germany who wrote her autobiography Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) under the name ‘Anonyma’ (Anonymous), detailing her experiences of the last days of WWII as she and over one million other women were raped and abused by Allied soldiers of the Red Army; Neus Català Pallejà (b.1915) from Spain, a member of the United Socialist Party of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, an active collaborator with the French Resistance during WWII and the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp for women; Maria Eugenia Jasińska (1906-43) from Łódź in Poland who worked for the resistance and gave up her own life rather than ‘name names’; and Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria (1895-1989), from Spain, a revolutionary leader, political activist, communist and crusader against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War who created the famous cry ‘They Shall Not Pass’.
‘Such a moving piece of theatre. The performances were excellent’
Sabina Coyne Higgins
Tour Dates 2017
Thursday 28 September
An Táin Arts Centre, Crowe Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth
1pm. Booking: 00353 (0)42 9332332, www.antain.ie
Saturday 7 October
Island Arts Centre, The Island, Lisburn BT27 4RL
8pm. Booking: 0044 (0) 28 9250 9254, www.islandartscentre.com Tickets: £15/10
Tuesday 10 October
Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road, Belfast.
8pm. Booking: 0044 (0) 28 9024 2338, www.crescentarts.org £10/7, £5 for groups of 8 or more.
Friday 20 October
Mermaid Arts Centre, Main Street, Bray, Co. Wicklow
8pm. Booking: 00353 (0)1 272 4030, www.mermaidartscentre.ie Tickets: €16/14
Wed, Thurs, 25, 26 October
Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin
7.30pm. Booking: 00353 (0)1 896 2461, www.tcd.ie/beckett-theatre Tickets: €15/10
Wednesday 1 November
Wexford Arts Centre, Cornmarket, Wexford
8pm. Booking: 00 353 (0)53 912 3764, www.wexfordartscentre.ie Tickets: €16/14
Wed, Thurs, 15, 16 November
360° Crisis Trauma Hope Festival hosted by Theaterlabor at Theaterhaus im Tor 6, Bielefeld, Germany.
7pm. Booking: 0049 (0) 521 287856 Tickets €14/8
Thursday 30 November
Draíocht, The Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin 15
8pm. Booking: 00353 (0)1 885 2622, www.draiocht.ie Tickets: €16/14
Tour Date 2018
Thursday 15 February
Theatre Royal Waterford, The Mall, Waterford
8pm. Booking: +353 (0)51 874 402, www.theatreroyal.ie/events/the-woman-is-present Tickets: €17/15
Saturday 24 February
Playhouse Theatre, 5-7 Artillery St, Derry/Londonderry
8pm. Booking: 0044(0) 28 7126 8027, www.derryplayhouse.co.uk Tickets: £10
The women’s stories featured in the performance can be found in the Women War and Peace Digital Book, with a foreword by Marian Harkin, MEP, which contains 23 stories of women’s experiences during World War II and is now available online. The book was launched at the Mansion House, Dublin on 8 November 2016 by Mary Lawlor, Front Line Defenders and Cllr Rebecca Moynihan, Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin. The editor of the book is Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company, and Lecturer, BA in Drama (Performance), Conservatory of Music and Drama, and key contributors are Edyta Pietrzak, Inga Kuzma, Fernando Benavente Tendillo, Kilian Cuerda Ros, Arne Schrader, Freda Manweiler, Mary Moynihan, Jessie Maguire, Bernard Wilson (writing about the life of Mary Elmes) and Nadia Clare Smith (writing about the life of Dorothy MacArdle). Click the following link to access the Women War and Peace Digital Book. Click here
The above events are co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation Fund and Culture Ireland.
Women in an Equal Europe/Women War and Peace
The above events are conducted as part of two large scale projects Women in an Equal Europe and Women War and Peace.
Women in an Equal Europe uses a feminist framework and creative processes of theatre, film and online digital resources to explore and reflect on the experiences of women living in Europe and the power of EU policy to promote gender equality, human rights and diversity. This transnational democratic engagement and civil society project involves four European partners from Ireland, Spain, Croatia and Serbia and uses creative processes of theatre and film and online resources to promote a greater understanding of women’s rights and the positive changes that have come about in relation to gender equality as a result of belonging to the European Union. This project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union. The four European partners are:
- Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company, Ireland, www.smashingtimes.ie (lead partner)
- Iniciativas de Futuro Para Una Europa Social, Valencia, Spain
- Mirovna grupa mladih Dunav, Youth Peace Group ‘Danube’ (YPGD), Yukovar, Croatia, www.ypgd.org
- DAH Theatre Research Centre, Belgrade, Serbia www.dahteatarcentar.com
Using the arts and political activism, the project identifies 20 positive stories of change experienced by women – 5 from each partner country – that have come about as a result of belonging to the EU. The 20 stories form the basis for the Women War and Peace Digital book and Creative Documentary to be launched at the Women in an Equal Europe International Creative Arts Symposium to be held at the Samuel Beckett Theatre Dublin on Friday 27 October 2017 from 10am to 2pm, all welcome to attend.
Public performances of The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII can be seen at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, 25, 26 October 2017, nightly at 7.30 as part of a nationwide tour and a youth ensemble performance takes place on 27 October at 7.30.
Women War and Peace is an innovative arts-based project using creative performances, workshops, post-show discussions, and new digital media technologies to promote a rights-based society by focusing on the role and equal participation of women in peace building and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The project is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation Fund and the partners are Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company, CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) and the University of Ulster INCORE International Conflict Research Institute.
Activities include a national and international tour of The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Germany with post-show discussions on women in history, gender equality and peace and a Human Rights Creative Workshop and Performance programme exploring themes of equality and peace for schools, youth and adult groups.
Members of the public can download the Women War and Peace Digital Book with a foreword by Marian Harkin MEP – Click here and contribute to the Women War and Peace online questionnaire – Click here.
For further information contact Freda Manweiler
Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company
Tel: + 353 (0) 1 865 6613 Tel: + 353 (0) 87 221 4245