London is getting feminist. If you thought David Cameron’s House of Commons “calm down, dear” retort to Angela Eagle was patronising and sexist, an eponymous festival at the Camden People’s Theatre will tickle your fancy.
CPT co-directors Jenny Paton and Brian Logan explained the rationale behind the event:
We were struck earlier this year by the number of feminist-themed applications to our annual Sprint festival. That didn’t come out of nowhere: the boom in feminist thought and action – from No More Page 3 to Caitlin Moran, from Jane Austen on banknotes to Everyday Sexism on Twitter – has been one of the most heartening features of public life in the last couple of years. Our Calm Down, Dear festival celebrates and channels that. We’re really proud to be hosting some of the most exciting and urgent art to be found at the crest of this feminist new wave.
Perhaps the most exciting event is Bridget Christie’s Edinburgh-winning, feminism-celebrating show A Bic For Her on 27 October, performed before a longer run at the Soho Theatre. There’s also more fantastic comedy from Sara Pascoe, Luisa Omielan and Rosie Wilby.
Theatre performances include Pretty Ugly from Louise Orwin, trying to understand the phenomenon of teenage girls posting videos online and asking people to rate their looks. Amanda Monfrooe uses puppets, pop and spoken word in Poke to create the confession of a failed feminist propagandist. Rosana Cade challenges perceptions of sexuality in My Big Sister Taught Me This Lapdance and even a man gets a look-in as Alan Bissett’s one man play sees him ‘chat’ with Andrea Dworkin in Ban This Filth! There’s also short films, cabaret, a night of gaming and loads more so be sure to browse the programme.
Separately, the Feminism in London conference takes place on 26 October at the Institute of Education in Bloomsbury. Speakers include MP Caroline Lucas, Natalya Dell and Shabina Begum, and the day’s topics range across human trafficking, secular feminism in BME communities, militarism and men’s rights activists. It’s followed by a Stop Porn Culture Event and Reclaim the Night march (and party, of course).
Calm Down, Dear runs 23 October-10 November at Camden People’s Theatre, 58-60 Hampstead Road NW1. Tickets £10 / £8, except My Big Sister Taught Me This Lapdance £8 / £6. Feminism in London starts 9am on 26 October at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way WC1. Tickets £25 / £10.