Limerick Arts Community Gets Behind #WakingTheFeminists Campaign

Members of Limerick’s arts community have joined the #WakingTheFeminists campaign in calling for equality within the arts.

Around 40 people came together at the Hunt Museum in the city this morning as part of the movement.

“We as women have to start claiming a bit of the territory for ourselves,” said Limerick playwright Mary Coll, speaking at this morning’s gathering.

“Women are writing, they’re just not making it from the page to the stage,” she said.

“We have to be included. Our voices should be heard.”

The #WakingTheFeminists hashtag began to circulate online last week in response to the Abbey Theatre’s 2016 programme Waking The Nation, which contains just one play by a female playwright.

“If the national theatre doesn’t think it’s important to source the work of women, someone needs to tap them very hard on the shoulder and say ‘no, this is not ok’,” said Ms Coll.

In a statement yesterday, the Abbey Theatre’s Board, and Director Fiach Mac Conghail acknowledged that its upcoming programme “does not represent gender equality”.

The board and director also pledged to work towards more equality and to address the “input of the wider Irish theatre community”.

Mary Coll also criticised the media and the political sphere for what she sees as a lack of female representation.

“If you look at our national broadcaster, it’s mainly men’s voices that you hear, it’s men’s voices you hear in politics,” she said.

Speaking about the future, Ms Coll said, “I’d like to think that my daughters wouldn’t feel that their voice and their presence is absent from the media.”

The #WakingTheFeminists campaign has gained traction online since its inception last week, including the support of international actresses Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Debra Messing.

Lian Bell, an Irish set designer and arts manager who started the hashtag, said she was “sick of talking quietly” about the issue.

A public meeting was held at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin this afternoon to discuss the issue.

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