Waking the Feminists wins special US award

Lilly Awards honours the movement for fighting ‘to have women’s stories told’

A demonstration outside the Abbey Theatre during a Waking the Feminists event. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

A demonstration outside the Abbey Theatre during a Waking the Feminists event. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

The Waking the Feminists movement was presented with a special award at this year’s Lilly Awards ceremony in New York on Monday.

The Lilly Awards was established seven years ago to honour the achievements of women in US theatre.

It is the first time a Lilly award has been given to an organisation or person outside of the US.

The award was accepted on behalf of the movement by Sarah Durcan and Lisa Tierney Keogh.

Julia Jordan, founder of the Lilly Awards, said: “[Waking the Feminists] was a visceral explosion that mirrored our own struggle in the US to have women’s stories told and heard.

“It brought home how international this movement is. We are obviously just a piece of the larger push for equality for women and girls, but we are all responsible for our own little corner of the world, and the theatre is ours to fix.”

Lian Bell, one of the founders of the movement, said: “Waking the Feminists has always been about each of us taking personal responsibility to call out sexism when we see it, and supporting each other to do so.

“This award is a huge honour for all who continue to made their voices heard through the Waking the Feminists movement, and a testament to how far the message travels when we shout together.

“It’s wonderful to have this moment to recognise the powerful solidarity that each of us feels with our feminist theatre colleagues around the world. Onwards!”

Origin

The Waking the Feminists movement was sparked by the announcement late last year of the Abbey Theatre’s commemorative programme for 2016, Waking the Nation, in which only one of its 10 programmed plays was written by a woman.

Waking the Feminists is calling for a sustained policy of inclusion, equal championing and advancement of women artists and economic parity for all working in theatre.

The group has committed to giving up its time and resources for free to work on the campaign over the next year and hopes to achieve equality in Irish theatre within five years.