Posted by: stelladuffy | April 18, 2015

Women’s Equality Party, Meeting 2, Today – April 18 2015

A few weeks ago I attended the inaugural meeting of the Women’s Equality Party.
It was called from a desire to FINALLY make a difference, not just for some women, not just for privileged women, but for all women.
And therefore, OBVIOUSLY, for everyone, because when half the world is equal, then ALL the world is equal.
And, using the Icelandic model where applicable, to force the main parties to put women’s equality TRULY on their agendas too.

Right now, even in the privileged west, we all too often treat women as if we are a minority.
Women are not a minority, and treating us as such doubly, trebly disadvantages women of colour, disabled women, lgbtq women etc etc.
We’re not there yet.
And the party, as such, is not formed yet.
It’s nascent, it’s in the process of making itself, and it needs EVERYONE WHO CARES in it NOW to make a difference. To make it the party they – we – need it to be.

The first meeting was called by a friend of my niece, and now a friend of mine. That’s how I knew about it.
The second meeting today has had a bit wider publicity, so we’re hoping the group who come along today are wider, and less mates of mates!) but it’s all being done in spare time and around other work, families, cares, health issues – all the stuff we all always deal with.
If you’re reading this in London on April 18 2015 and can come along to Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, 5.30pm for 6pm start, please do!
Here’s the event page (facebook, no website yet …) :

And if you think the Women’s Equality Party might not be this or that enough, might not represent these women or those women (or men or gender-fluid or non-binary or ANYONE) enough, PLEASE get involved.
Please get involved now, while it’s still becoming, please offer to be on the steering committee, answer the emails, do the work, help the people who are doing this now as we make it up.
It’s embryonic, but it will become the thing that it’s made up of now.
It needs all of us who care about equality in it.
Maybe I will see you at today’s meeting, if you can make it, maybe see you on the mailing list if not.
There’s a real need for branches/chapters (I’m not sure what to call them) outside of London, and volunteers to start them would be brilliant.
And I know, you don’t have time, I don’t have time, NO ONE who has said they’ll be on the steering committee has time.
But what’s that “be the change you want to see” that I’ve seen attributed to everyone from Gandhi to Mandela to Eleanor Roosevelt? Here’s (another) chance to be that change.

There isn’t a website yet.
There is a facebook page.
The email address to ask to be added to the mailing list is on this page as well. (Can’t put it here due to spam likelihood.)
And a great blog about it on Mumsnet from Sophie Walker.

Join in. If you want to be part of it, you are wanted.

And here’s the Mission Statement :

Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfill their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.

The Women’s Equality Party will be a new non-partisan force in British politics bringing together women and men of all ages and backgrounds, united in the campaign for women to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that both sexes can flourish.

The Women’s Equality Party will work towards such a society. We will push for equal representation in politics and business to ensure women’s voices are heard at the same volume as men’s. We will urge an education system that creates opportunities for all girls and boys and an understanding of why this matters. We will press for equal pay and equal parenting rights enabling women and men to share opportunity and responsibility in the workplace and at home. We will seek an end to violence against women.

We will bring about change by winning—support, votes and seats. We will not try to present ourselves as a party with an answer on every issue and a full palette of policies. Our focus will be clear and unambiguous and we will not stop attracting votes from the other political parties until they embrace and adopt our agenda of equality.

Posted by: stelladuffy | March 25, 2015

because nice things happen too

2014 was a hell of a year, as well as having breast cancer for the second time and three surgeries (spaced over the year), my father-in-law died extremely painfully and very sadly – and, at the same time as these horrible things, Fun Palaces, the biggest thing I’ve ever made (not alone, obviously!) took off and grew to become far more astonishing and glorious and hopeful than we could ever have dreamed, I wrote a teeny tiny opera (libretto) for Tete a Tete (and have now been asked to write a slightly larger one, yay), and wrote a women-in-science play commissioned for her company, Theree Legged Theatre, by the gorgeous Lucy Pitman-Wallace.
Another good thing that happened is that a Twitter conversation (use Twitter for good, my friends! it can be done!) led to the splendid Salt Publishing collecting and publishing my short stories Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined.
And today I heard that the anthology is longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
Having been twice longlisted for the Orange Prize, among a bunch of other long and short listings, I’m well aware that being longlisted is not the same as being shortlisted, and being shortlisted is definitely not the same as making the tearful speech.
But it’s very lovely regardless.

The main reason I’m sharing it is that we ALL have rubbish years. Sometimes we have rubbish decades. And, if we’re lucky, there are gifts to be found in those rubbish times as well. I’m now awaiting a date for my 4th (and final – woop!) surgery, I’m in less in pain than I’ve been in over a year, and this nice thing happened today.
I hope, whatever tough things are going on for you, that some nice things can happen today for you too.
(Even if it’s only that the rain is good for the trees.)

Here’s the gorgeous cover Salt gave my collection.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 15.19.14

Posted by: stelladuffy | March 15, 2015

BAC Phoenix

On loving BAC back :

I think I first did a show at BAC in 1989, maybe ’90. For quite a while in the 90s, with Spontaneous Combustion, I improvised a play there every single Sunday night. I have acted there with a (live) chicken, washed half-naked in a pool built onstage while eye-balling Derek Jarman, scratched pieces when Scratch was BAC’s brand-new idea (and is now a term many people think has always existed), I had my 30th birthday there in an eternal day of a never-ending tech, I’ve taught impro and writing to youth and adult groups, made a solo show in the attic and shown in the studio, told stories, done readings with Apples & Snakes, devised new work, staged an exhibition of amazing photos of young women with breast cancer, I’ve been part of LifeGame and Animo with Improbable at BAC, I’ve been to weddings and parties and loads of shows and have never once walked into the building without seeing someone I know, more often than not, someone I love.

I’m not alone. Thousands of us feel the same, have experienced the same, as artists, as audience, as participants, as someone popping in for a coffee or a wine because the cafe is accessible and friendly. BAC isn’t just a building, it’s an idea. From Jude Kelly through Paul Blackman, Tom Morris, Davids Jubb and Micklem, and David Jubb’s brilliant team now, the building IS important, always has been, but the spirit is enormous. A spirit of openness, of engagement, of honestly looking at how the building is run and how to run it FOR and WITH the people – both the people of the area and the people who make the work there – often those people are the same. It has a true relationship with the local community and with the community of artists. It’s no surprise that David Jubb was one of the first supporters of Fun Palaces, nor that BAC’s Fun Palace plans are far-reaching and enormously political, working with the Katherine Low Settlement to make a difference, a political difference, in true engagement, right where they are. BAC is radical as hell and bloody welcoming at the same time.

Friday’s fire is heartbreaking, and the work to rebuild and – no doubt – build better, has already begun. Of course it has.

Lyn Gardner has written a lovely, moving piece on BAC.

You can donate here to make a difference. Even if you have never been to BAC or never known someone who has, if you work in theatre or the wider arts in the UK, then the chances are that something of BAC’s spirit has touched you. It’s time to give back.

opening of Modern Amazons exhibition, BAC 2004 - incredible photos of young women with breast cancer, thoughout the building.

opening of Modern Amazons exhibition, BAC 2004 – incredible photos of young women with breast cancer, thoughout the building.

Breaststrokes, 2004

Breaststrokes, BAC, 2004

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