The #WakingTheFeminists movement would suggest that it isn’t, at least not when it comes to theatre. When the programme of ten plays launched by Ireland’s national theatre last year to commemorate the 1916 Rising only featured one play written by a woman, it sparked an outcry that soon went viral, attracting support from people like Meryl Streep and Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch. The movement went on to win a special US Lilly Award honouring the contributions of women in theatre earlier this year.
But as the 1916 centenary continues, we seem to be trying to address some of the inequality that #WakingTheFeminists shone a global spotlight on. For its part, Dublin’s Culture Night 2016 will pay tribute to the less widely known heroines of the rising. At the National Museum of Ireland, Carnation Theatre will perform Midwives of the Nation, a play remembering the female dispatchers, doctors, First-Aiders, snipers and gun runners of 1916. In The Liberties, Liz Gillis – co-author of Richmond Barracks 1916: 77 Women of the Easter Rising – will also explore the role of women in the revolt. And the Women’s Museum of Ireland will lead a unique tour examining the contribution of women to the history of Dublin.
Meanwhile, Herstory – the group of creatives and historians committed to ‘reawakening the lost life stories of extraordinary Irish women’ – will hold two events as part of this year’s Culture Night. The Liquor Rooms will see an evening of story-telling, bringing forth tales of remarkable women through comedy, music, theatre and poetry, while at The Irish Times building, Herstory will host a contemporary salon in collaboration with The Women’s Podcast and Block T arts organisation.
These happenings are part of Culture Night’s most ambitious programme ever. With over 1,400 participating venues across the country, Dublin alone will hold over 500 free events. This year’s festival is even going international, with events planned in New York, Paris and Leeds.