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On Sunday, February 3rd, Lancaster University will be welcoming Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, to the city-centre as part of the international celebrations taking place to mark the production’s fifteenth anniversary.
Later in February, Valentine’s Day marks fifteen years of the powerful and provocative show, which is now performed in all but fourteen countries across the globe. This year, the focus of the performance is on empowerment for women and men alike, who are urged to participate in One Billion Rising, a global event hoping to orchestrate a united display of solidarity through members of the public standing up and speaking out against violence against women.
According to the event’s website, ‘one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime’. Organisers are calling on ‘women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence.
‘ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.’
In anticipation of the Rising campaign, Lancaster’s own Monologues cast and production team are coordinating an afternoon of activities on February 3rd in order to raise awareness of the issues surrounding violence against women. Beginning at 1.00pm, the cast will be performing an official One Billion Rising dance routine in a city-centre flash-mob, which will be followed by performances, poetry readings and the chance to meet Eve Ensler at Lancaster Library.
Ensler’s visit was arranged by Lancaster University’s Monologues team following a tweet sent by Head Director Sam Aldridge, who had seen that Ensler was scheduled to appear in London on February 4th as part of her global promotional tour. Aldridge said that Ensler and her Managing Director were so impressed with the fundraising conducted through Lancaster’s student production – which has taken place for eleven consecutive years – that they decided to spend the day with them.
Aldridge stated: ‘The whole cast are thrilled to have Eve Ensler visiting Lancaster and taking an interest in such a small performance as well as the larger events such as London and Paris. Eve is an inspiration to many of the cast and her visit has created a real buzz for the cast and our supporters.’
Aldridge and her fellow dramatists have been collaborating with other student groups, including Matchbox Poems and the Feminist Society, in order to organise the event. It is hoped that the author’s presence will raise the profile of the performance and ‘inspire more people to get involved and to raise more money for such a deserving cause.’
All funds raised by the Vagina Monologues will go towards charitable causes, with ten per cent going to the global V-Day campaign and the rest to a local charity, Lancaster & District Women’s Aid, which supports women and girls affected by violence.
To join the event and follow proceedings, visit the Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/events/489088127810244/, or follow @vaginamonolancs on Twitter.
More information on One Billion Rising can be found at onebillionrising.org.