Behind the Scenes: Women in the Arts
by Laurie Ingram
In the lead up to International Women’s day on Tuesday the 8th of March, the Five Lamps Arts Festival has been celebrating the creative contributions of women in many areas including music, dance and performance art. This is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the female perspective and provide a stage from which to highlight the unique vision of women within our society. In the wake of Mother’s Day and appreciating the significance of women in our everyday lives, turning our attention to the creative impact of women is surely an important and pertinent activity.
For the past three days, The House Presents has been showcasing the variety performance As a Woman I, which has been exploring what it means to be a woman by unpacking ideas that surround the female identity. In doing so, the performance allows us not only to rethink such concepts, but also provides a way to exhibit female talent in music and performance art, thereby making space for women’s voices. By drawing upon contributions from the community of the Five Lamps Area, As a Woman I has proved to be an inventive investigation of womanhood that draws upon a lived reality.
Nestled above a pub in North Dublin, the House Presents offered a warm and intimate setting for a night of musical and artistic talent. During the evening there was a wonderfully eclectic show, with artists Annie ‘Minnie’ McLaughlin, Juliana Torres, Abigail Smith, Lioba Petrie, Tom Harte and Alain Servant proving that the gift of music is bountiful within each and every gender. However, the theme throughout the performances resounded with the particularities of being a woman in today’s society, as Michelle Costello performed a selection of spoken word that articulated the voices of many women in one. This spoken word was influenced and shaped by the audience itself, as before the show volunteers collected hand written notes that would complete the sentence “As a Woman I…”. Since both men and women were asked to contribute, this resulted in a unique examination of what or who a woman can be, pushing boundaries of gender conventions. This was further examined by the role of Alain Servant, who slowly adopted the appearance and demeanour of an archetypal woman as the show progressed. Finally taking the stage to perform his music ‘as a woman’, presenting the character of a woman who had developed alongside the rhythms of music and audience influence.
As a Woman I was a fascinating and insightful act to volunteer for, and as a woman myself, I was delighted to witness the talent and potential of female artists being exhibited so diligently within an arts festival.
Continuing the theme of women in the arts, this week holds events that showcase even more examples of such inspiring work. International Women’s Day (8th March) will be celebrated with a dance performance including the genres of Bollywood, Tribal, Fusion and Belly Dance. Delving into the world of female Irish music, Women Who Rock (9th March) will exhibit a wealth of talent. Indeed, the celebrations don’t end there, with Cliona Cassidy and Niamh Molloy (13th March) performing a repertoire of evocative music. Towards the end of the festival, Eastrogen Rising (16th March), a thrilling night of cabaret about the women of the Easter Rising will be taking place. Indeed this year the Five Lamps Arts Festival is offering a wonderful variety of events that unashamedly rejoices the human potential for creation, while carving out time and space for many different kinds of voices and visions.
About the Author
You can follow Laurie on Twitter: @laurieis