Prepare to be WOWed at a brand new festival

Published: Friday 3rd March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Women of the World Festival launched in London in 2010. For our year as the UK City of Culture, the celebration is coming to venues across Hull.

WOW champions gender equality. Celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere, it also examines the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential.

Next week will see a range of activity taking place, overseen by Festival Programmer Madeleine O’Reilly. We caught up with Madeleine to find out more.

“WOW is a multi-artform festival comprising talks, panels, performances, experiences, workshops and provocations.”

“It was founded by Jude Kelly, who had become increasingly aware that people were wondering why gender equality was still taking so long to achieve.”

The festival aims to be a platform where people can come together, discuss, experience, take inspiration and be empowered. This will hopefully lead them to look at how we can make changes to improve things for all genders.

“There’s a range of activity such as shows and exhibitions,” says Madeleine. “There are also engaging ways to get more involved, such as talks, debates and workshops.”

The Revolutionary Makers Workshop, for example, invites you to turn your passion for equality into a wearable symbol of progression. Suitable for all ages, you can even take the family along for a bit of stitching mixed with activism.

At the end, you’ll have the option to add your item to an installation of craft pieces, which will be gifted to WOW visitors at the end of the festival.

Another key event is Lucy Beaumont and Maureen Lipman working with the original cast of To Hull and Back. Together they’ll create a special live version of the hit radio sitcom that was originally recorded for BBC Radio 4.

This unmissable evening of performance and comedy will also feature composer Errollyn Wallen, spoken word artist Kate Fox and the Freedom Chorus.

With 2017 being the first installation of the festival, it’s hoped that it will become an annual event. This will only be possible if the people of Hull really get behind it.

“We recommend that you purchase a WOW Day Pass in advance,” adds Madeleine. “As well as making everything run more smoothly, the pass is required for entry into some events.”

For those who may think it’s not for them, Madeleine is here to put your mind at ease:

“Everyone is welcome at Women of the World. It’s not just for women, far from it. Equality is for men and women, and nothing will change unless everyone’s at the table.”

Another familiar face at WOW is Jean Bishop, AKA The Bee Lady. The local hero will be part of a panel at the Championing Care event at City Hall.

With dozens of events taking place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 March, we suggest you view the full programme on the Hull 2017 website, which includes dates and prices.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and input throughout the festival,” adds Madeleine. “Seeing people get inspired throughout the weekend by Hull trailblazers is going to be wonderful.”

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Published: Friday 3rd March 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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