Think of history and then think of HERstory, see things from a different perspective.
Let’s discuss stories that change the world. Stories that are written, stories that are passed down from generation to generation, stories that appear on the stage, on film and on television. Until recent times, the majority of stories we were exposed to were written, directed, and acted by men. This is slowly changing.
In 2016 a group of women in Sydney decided, after seeing a theatre company’s marketing material for its upcoming season which consisted only of male faces, that they’d had enough. Thus WITS (Women in Theatre and Screen) was born. From the group, Festival Fatale was born – a celebration of women which aims to produce ground-breaking, contemporary and vibrant theatre for audiences in Sydney. Festival Fatale is held every two years to give women their voice, showcasing the best in performance, readings, panel discussions, special introductions and networking opportunities.
“Festival Fatale has the power to be a driving force for real change in the industry, and for HERstory in the making,” says Festival Fatale General Manager, Tara Clark.
“After the huge success of the inaugural event in 2016 I’m convinced that Festival Fatale is more important now than ever. The impact of the 2016 festival was far reaching; and instrumental in spurring Darlinghurst Theatre Company to show tremendous leadership and implement a Gender Parity Policy in their programming.”
According to Ms Clark, in 2016 the average gender parity in theatre programming of women to men was 30%. Today it is closer to 43%.
“We have achieved a great deal, but there is much more to do,” she says.
This year’s festival will run for one day only – Saturday 27 October – at The Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst Theatre Company. The Festival lineup reflects the diversity of women living in Sydney. This year’s Festival will see staged readings of new plays by Western Sydney playwright, Monikka Eliah, Djungan writer, Phoebe Grainer and Papua New Guinean, Wendy Mocke, as well as performances of new works by Perth theatre maker Susie Conte, Sydney body poet Sabrina D’Angelo, and Melbourne comedienne Lana Scwarcz.
Eliah’s play reading of Nana and Bertah tells the story of two Assyrian Nanas on a mission to save their favourite soap-opera star from being killed off in her hit television show. Underestimated by know-nothing grandsons and big TV execs, these two gal pals won’t let anything stand in their way.
Scwarcz’s play Lovely Lady Lump is the story of her breast cancer experience. It has jokes, truths, and one or two poignant moments from the Melbourne comic. Jelbu/Meri is Mocke’s storytelling between two black women. Their stories cut across timelines, weave between cultures, and search for meaning in new knowledge and old wisdom.
There is a vital and urgent energy in the Festival Fatale that came across in the first ever Festival in 2016, that comes from women telling their stories. It is their time.
Tickets can be purchased for single events, multiple events, or for the whole festival. Best value is the full festival pass at $99 – which is a saving of 45% on individual tickets.