Last month, I had the immense pleasure of being involved with V-Day for the second time. The first was when I was still studying at Brunel University when I organised a production of The Vagina Monologues with a couple of friends. It was incredibly hard work, especially since I was in third year and trying to do my dissertation at the same time, but we had such a wonderful response from the people who saw it and we raised money for two local women’s charities and it was a wonderful experience.
V-Day is a global movement that works to stop violence against women, by raising awareness and funds. It was set up by Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues and each year, the rights of the play are offered free to college and community theatre groups. Each group can do three nights of the show and all money raised goes to charities that help stop violence against women.
I was thinking about putting on my own Dublin production when I saw the audition notice on Crooked House last November. I was delighted when I got a part in the show. We had our first read-through last December and it was great to hear the monologues again, but so odd to hear them read by different actresses.
I love The Vagina Monologue script. Each monologues are powerful and beautifully written but as well as that, the whole show hangs together so well. When I’m sitting on stage, the whole show seems to fly by because each monologue leads fluidly into the next and before you know it, we in the last ten minutes of the show. There’s a wonderful balance of comedy and tragedy in the script.
This year’s production was not without mishap and complication. The show’s organisers had a lot of trouble finding a venue. It was supposed to happen in Ranalagh but there wasn’t any suitable venue available there, the next place that came up were looking for too much money, which we just didn’t have. Then we found somewhere perfect for the nights we needed, but they lost their theatre license and closed down a week before the show was due to open. And finally we found the Exchange in Temple Bar. They asked for a deposit and 10% of the ticket sales, and in return we got a lovely intimate space with a stage just big enough for 14 women to squeeze onto.
We filled the space on all three nights we were there, with male and female audience members (though mainly female!) and they all enjoyed the show very much. At least they seemed to be enjoying it from where I was sitting!
As well as putting on a great show, we also raised almost €1,500 for charity. Ten percent went to the V-Day spotlight charity which this year was the City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest of the money raised went to Ruhama, a Dublin charity that supports women working in the sex industry. They are a very hands on charity.
The City of Joy is a place of refuge for the women and girls of the DCR who have been abused physically and sexually as part of the war in that part of the world. It is a horrendous conflict that has been going on for far too long. If you would like to find out more, there are lots of details on the V-Day website and here is an article from the Guardian by Eve Ensler.
All in all, it was once again a wonderful experience and I definitely plan on begin involved in some sort of V-Day event again next year.