They talk about a woman’s sphere as though it had a limit,
there’s not a place in earth or heaven,
there’s not a task to mankind given,
without a woman in it.
Kate Field (1838-1896)
This was the quote that inspired A Woman’s Sphere coming to fruition. In September of 2005 individual women and women’s groups from across Kilkenny county were invited to participate in a unique project by, for and about women living in Kilkenny. With guaranteed confidentiality, over 100 women belonging to 11 diverse groups, including a community of nuns, from across County Kilkenny responded to our initial call. Those who chose to join the project participated in a series of discussions and drama workshops over a period of 7 months. They explored the question ‘What does it mean to be a woman in Kilkenny today?’
Staying true to the reality of the lives of the women participating in the project, A Woman’s Sphere attempted to capture the essence of how these groups of women define their daily experience of being a woman living in Kilkenny.
Stage 1 – Workshops
Workshops were held in September 2005 and February 2006 with each of eleven pre-existing women’s groups. Facilitated by writer Maeve Ingoldsby and Outreach Officer Rebecca Moran, the workshops used drama, writing and discussion to explore the women’s experiences. This process culminated in a single monologue piece from each group.
These were then coalesced into a single theatre piece comprising 8 monologues, adding theatrical elements of rhythm, percussion, movement, chant and song.
Stage 2 – Auditions
Open auditions to perform in the final piece were held in March & April, and were open to any woman living in Kilkenny – regardless of whether or not she had participated in the process up to that point.
Stage 3 – Performance
The final theatre piece was scripted by Maeve Ingoldsby and Rebecca Moran (who also directed) and was presented in June 2006 by 9 local women, most of whom were performing in public for the first time.
A Woman’s Sphere was performed in a sphere configuration; the audience sat in the centre, facing podiums on points outside the audience.
There were two performance nights; Fri 9th June at The Barn Theatre, and Sat 10th June at The Brewery Club, Parliament Street.
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