Manchester's Wonder Women Festival, an 11-day-long cultural celebration of feminism and female achievement, returns in March 2017. This year's event is themed around the Suffragette movement and it's legacy today. The programme includes theatre, talks, tours, and screenings - so we've rounded up a few to get you started:-
Conference: Women In Media at the People’s History Museum
This, the second annual Women in Media Conference is shaping up to be an even bigger event than last year. It will feature keynote speeches, panel sessions, and workshops where attendees can learn from successful people in the industry. The featured guests are an impressive group of women from the fields of journalism, radio, TV, blogging, and PR. The conference is organised by a group of journalism students from the University of Manchester, and is open to all: students and working stiffs alike.
Sat 4 - Sun 5 Mar, The People's History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3ER, Tel: 0161 276 5910, 10am - 5pm, £15 (weekend ticket), www.phm.org.uk
Workshops about women & music with Ladyfest Mcr: Putting Women Up Front at Islington Mill
This one-day event explores themes of visibility, body politics, and identity in the modern music industry. Attendees can improve their music-making skills at workshops centred on production and marketing. There will be a panel discussion from key female figures in the music industry, and musician Caro C. will give a talk entitled Visibility is Key about women in tech and electronic music. Rounding out the day is a workshop from the body positive campaign Free to be OK with Me.
Sat 11 Mar, Islington Mill, Chapel Street, 1 James Street, Salford, M3 5HW, Tel: 0161 278 6404, noon – 7pm, FREE, www.islingtonmill.com
Comedy: Sophie Willan: ‘On Record’ at The Lowry (pic)
In this offbeat comedy show, Sophie Willan charts her experiences of an unconventional upbringing in the British care system. A deeply personal work, she draws on her official care records, quoting the experts who assessed her, helping to reveal some key incidents in her life. There will be a post-show discussion with the poet Fergus Evans, where the pair will discuss the impact of Sophie’s childhood experiences. This event is part of SICK! Festival (8-25 Mar, full info at www.sickfestival.com) - read our top picks here.
Sun 12 Mar, The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ. Tel: 0843 208 6000, 8pm, from £12, www.thelowry.com
Comedy: Abi Roberts at Hope Mill Theatre
The comedian Abi Roberts is giving a one-off performance of her new show ‘Anglichanka’. A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, the show is centred on her time in Russia (the title is Russian for 'Englishwoman'). She lived in the country in the nineties, and returned there many years later when Putin had taken charge. Expect tales of drinking vodka, studying opera, and using toilets in minus 20 degree temperatures.
Thu 2 Mar, Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7JA, Tel: 0161 275 9141, 9.30pm, £7, www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk
Cabaret: Dolly Mixtures – Variety show at Royal Exchange
Curated by Instigate Arts, this variety show will feature cutting-edge feminist performances. Visitors will be treated to a night of poetry, theatre, cabaret, and more. The show is free, but on the night the organisers will be accepting donations which will be split between the artists and a charitable cause. More details will be announced soon.
Fri 3 Mar, Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833, 7.30pm, Free entry, www.creativetourist.com
Contrite to and watch a new play: Words to our Daughters at Central Library & People's History Museum
A collective of local playwrights, The Wednesday Collective, have come up with a bold new idea; to write a play during the festival with contributions from members of the public. Stage one is the gathering of voices and thoughts from women aged 21 to 50. To lend your voice to the project, book a place via the link below to take part in an open conversation at Central Library on Saturday 4 March at 2.30pm. This will be followed by a 'rehearsed reading' of the play on Saturday 11 March at People's History Museum at 3pm. Again - book via the link below. The play will be written over the course of the festival, exploring what it means to be a women in Manchester today. The free performance will be a snapshot of life from various perspective and it's free to attend but booking is recommended.
Conversation: Sat 4 Mar, Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester M2 5PD, 2.30pm, FREE, www.eventbrite.co.uk; Play: Sat 11 Mar, People's History Museum (details as above), 3pm, FREE, www.eventbrite.co.uk
Art and history exhibition: Con & Eva at the Irish Heritage Centre
This intriguing exhibition exploring the lives of Anglo-Irish sisters instrumental the Suffrage movement, Constance Markievicz and Eva Gore-Booth. Markievicz was a revolutionary Irish nationalist, suffragette, and a leader of the Easter Rising while her sister was a poet and also a Suffragette, although a pacifist. They are connected to the city of Manchester as Eva lived in Manchester with a female partner and campaigned throughout her life for women's rights. The exhibition launch is preceded by a debate entitled Gendering Revolution which explores the sisters' legacy and how it relates to contemporary politics and issues.
Gendering Revolution debate, 1 Irish Town Way, Manchester M8 0AE
Tel: 0161 205 4007, 3.30pm, FREE, www.eventbrite.com. Exhibition: Fri 10 Mar – Fri 30 Jun, venue as above, times vary, FREE, www.iwhc.com
Image by Steve Ullathorne