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Line-up revealed for new women’s festival set to WOW Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:50 08 March 2018

Wow is coming to Norwich next year. (From left) Rosie Arnold, Kelly Rob, Joanna Houlden and Cathryn Fenton.

Wow is coming to Norwich next year. (From left) Rosie Arnold, Kelly Rob, Joanna Houlden and Cathryn Fenton.

Ian Burt

Women of the World - known as WOW - is said to be the largest women’s movement across the globe and its next stop is Norwich.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 -  Becky Edwards.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Becky Edwards. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

Our fine city will play host to its first ever WOW festival in April and the full festival line-up has today been revealed to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Founded in 2010 by Southbank Centre’s artistic director Jude Kelly, the WOW movement has already reached more than two million people in 23 cities worldwide, and its Norwich debut on April 28 and 29 features a programme packed full of talks, debates, music, activism, comedy, workshops and more.

The Norwich programme was shaped by the views of local people who attended a series of “thinkins” ahead of the festival, and it will both celebrate women and girls and also take a frank look at barriers that can prevent them achieving their potential.

“WOW - Women of the World Festivals are designed to be agents of change in their host cities, providing a space for women to participate in discussion, education and collaboration on the issues that most impact their lives,” said Jude Kelly.

Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World festival supported by Bloomberg.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreSouthbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World festival supported by Bloomberg. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

“WOW is the biggest gathering of women and girls across the globe, and I’m so pleased that Norwich is part of this story 
for change.”

While most of the WOW Norwich events will take place at OPEN, the event is being led by Norwich Arts Centre and the Southbank Centre and is funded by Spirit of 2012.

Rosie Arnold, programmer for WOW Norwich, said: “Norwich Arts Centre is delighted and honoured to bring WOW to Norwich. This is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the city 
and the incredible people that live and work here every day, as well as to showcase visiting speakers and performers who have something to say that Norwich should hear. Our aim is for the festival to inspire not only debate, but positive change and action 
in our region.

“Diversity and equality stand front and centre at WOW Norwich. We celebrate all those who identify as women and girls, and the men and boys who support them, and welcome everyone to join us in April for what’s set to be an extraordinary weekend.”

Jude Kelly at Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World Festival.
Photo: Jo SpencerJude Kelly at Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World Festival. Photo: Jo Spencer

WOW NORWICH HIGHLIGHTS AT OPEN

Saturday, April 28

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - DollyWould.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - DollyWould. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

• Join Deborah Frances-White and special guests for comedy podcast, The Guilty Feminist, recorded in front of a live audience.

• Michelle Daley from Sisters of Frida, Kate Wyatt from Equal Lives and Dyad Collective founder Hannah Wallis will debate ways in which disabled women can have louder voices in feminism.

• Tonia Mayhill from Mancroft Advice Project, Lex Barber from The Tricky Period and Lauren Ravazzi from Norwich Sharing City will put a spotlight on social mobility issues.

• Jude Kelly will chair a discussion about the #metoo campaign and everyday sexism and harassment.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 -  Helen Linehan.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Helen Linehan. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

• Katy Jon Went from Gender Agenda will chair a panel on the representation of non-binary, trans and intersex women in the media.

• Jordan Stephens from hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, music blogger Alex Cabre and Writers’ Centre Norwich chief executive Chris Gribble will explore ways men can be helpful allies in the fight for gender equality.

• Survivors of domestic abuse, Jayne Booth and Sadie Charles give first-hand accounts and talk with domestic abuse charity Leeway and Norfolk County Council’s domestic abuse change coordinators.

• Victoria Mponda and Migrants Organise will lead a community action workshop in which migrant women will be encouraged to share their experiences.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Katy Jon Went.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Katy Jon Went. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

Sunday, April 29

• Journalist Nadine Houghton, author Stephanie Nimo, Helen Burgess from Age Space, and Mother Like No Other founder Becky Edwards look at why caring and emotional labour often falls on women and ask should women juggle it all?

• Author Ros Ball, poet Hollie McNish, comedian Jarlath Regan, and journalist Nina Nannar and her daughter Mimi will discuss positive parenting and challenging gender stereotypes.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Hollie McNish.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Hollie McNish. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

• Anna Kessel, author of Eat, Sweat, Play, will talk about her book on women and sport ahead of a panel discussion.

• Sink Ya Teeth lead singer Maria Uzor, journalist Nina Nannar, comedy writer Helen Linehan, and PRS Foundation chief executive Vanessa Reed look at what it’s like to be a woman in the media and entertainment industry.

• West Midlands Council chief executive Deborah Cadman, Broadland Youth Advisory Board member Jess Barnard and Women’s Equality Party member Hannah Peaker will discuss gender issues in politics.

• Artist Marcia X and Enid Otun, founder of Spokeswoman, will discuss how it feels to be a 
woman living and working in a majority white space when you are not white.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Kuba Shand-Baptise.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Kuba Shand-Baptise. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

• Performances by women in music making waves nationally will close the festival.

On both days there will also be an Under 10s Feminist Corner for girls and boys, WOW speed mentoring and a WOW Market showcasing the best of female entrepreneurship.

Weekend tickets for events at OPEN cost £20 (£15 concessions). Day tickets £12 (£8 concessions).

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Maria Uzor.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Maria Uzor. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

For more on the full line-up at OPEN and to book tickets, visit www.norwichartscentre.co.uk or call 01603 660352.

WOW NORWICH EVENTS AT OTHER VENUES

• Norwich Arts Centre: Sh!t Theatre will present DollyWould on April 27, followed by MOXIE, an intergenerational dance party for women. Poet Hollie McNish will be performing on April 28, and storytelling event True Stories Live is on April 29.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Nina Nannar.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Nina Nannar. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

• East Gallery: A Place in the World, an exhibition of photography and film by women artists from around the world, will run from March 9 until April 28.

• Cinema City: A preview screening of The Breadwinner and a Q&A session with Day Of The Girl Norwich will take place on April 29.

• Norwich Castle: The exhibition Visible Women - which opens on April 14 - will feature work by women artists.

• Norwich Playhouse: Soul, Gospel and R&B singer Ruby Turner will perform on April 28 and there will also be a WOW-inspired art exhibition.

WOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Peach Club.
Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts CentreWOW - Women of the World Norwich 2018 - Peach Club. Photo: supplied by Norwich Arts Centre

• The Birdcage: Altered Feast Comedy will present an all-female line-up of special guests on April 27.

• Children’s Library at Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library: WOW-inspired storytime sessions for children on April 27 and 28.

Visit each venue’s website for more details.

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