This article analyses how Banshee Performance works and how caring for one another has had a huge impact on not only the performance and the group but for each of us as women. The nature of the subject that Banshee Performance tackles is extremely sensitive, each woman has a different story to tell about their own experiences with rape or sexual abuse. This is why as a group during the creation of Banshee Performance, caring for one another was crucial, not only caring about the performance but caring for each member and their physical and mental health.
We found as time progress this aspect of caring, came hand in hand with support and respect. Our ethnographic research was autobiographical, our experiences became part of our performance. However without this element of care and support it is possible that our stories would still be a secret. Through our method of caring we made it possible to create an open safe space for all of us to confide in and through each session and each rehearsal Banshee Performance would sit as four women and talk about our experiences with abuse and experiences with feminism and what were our desired outcomes for the show. This daily practice came flawlessly and we began to realise we were researching each other and slowly helping each member remember that they are so much more than what that experience made them feel.
As we progressed in this practice, our mutual respect grew and with that, Banshee Performance became a close knitted group of warriors. We found that this practice plays a pivotal role in how we work as a group and with much support from each other decided to insert our own personal stories into our show. Without that element of care Banshee Performance would not exist as it does today. On a personal note it was an honour to work with such passionate and strong women, everyday I aspire to be as strong as them.
By Riyadh Johnson
Love, Banshee. x
As a feminist theatre company, one of the main topics we chose to focus on during our process was the act of sexual assault and rape.
To type, write or say the word seems too dark, too sharp. Part of me wants to change the word to something less daunting, but I'll refrain from doing so due to the fact that society likes to ignore that rape is an issue. No one likes to hear the word 'rape', because as much as it's a subject that needs to be discussed, it's also something that people do not want to believe happens on a daily basis.
When researching, we found that one in four women will be sexually assaulted and we came to a sudden realisation, there are four of us Banshees. To look around our group of strong, powerful women and to wonder which of us would be the unlucky one made us angry. It filled us with rage and by doing that gave us the motivation to push ourselves to create a performance that will not only educate others on the subject but will force them to listen, to not tiptoe around it.
Photography taken by Tim Drew
We began by researching, we found that documentary's such as 'The Hunting Ground' gave us a lot of insight into the twisted world of sexual assault in American universities and allowed us to delve deeper into how victims of rape are usually ignored and blamed for what happened to them. However, what interested us the most came from talking to friends and family about their experiences with sexual assault. We found that the perpetrators from the autobiographical stories we had heard were not strangers who drag women down dark alleys, they were actually friends, partners and family members. They were people who were trusted, they were people who betrayed that trust. We took these autobiographical stories and turned them into text and movement, focusing on the gestures that were used when stating their verbatim.
A lot of the time we found it very powerful to repeat those gestures throughout our piece. The stories that we had heard needed to be put out into the world, we owe it to victims to sexual assault to do so. As a company, we felt like our audience needed educating on the subject in an honest and unapologetic way, so that is what we did. We will not turn a blind eye to rape and sexual assault any longer, it needs to be discussed and it needs to be stopped.
By Rachel Drayton.
Love, Banshee. x
WE HAVE DONE IT!!!!!!
Thank you to every single one of you who attended the premier of 'Do not Cut the Flow of Kindness from Me.' The performance went so well and we are over the moon that so many of you were able to see what we have been working on this past year. Hopefully you too have allowed your inner banshee to come out.
Unfortunately that does mean that our university experience is now over... *cries*
But we are happy to be ending the semester and our degree on a high having learnt so much not only about ourselves and the way we work, but other people too and just how important these relationships are.
This wont be the last of Banshee we can assure you of that so do keep your eyes peeled with information on our next project. (As non- university students this time *cries again*)
Once again, thank you so so much for giving us the opportunity to tell our stories and spread our message.
By Georgia Randall
P.S thank you to Jen Todman for the photographs and our fabulous darling Jack Richardson for offering his shoulder to cry on, and being the best light and sound guy ever. Last but definitely not least, thank you to all the students and lectures at York St. John, particularly David Richmond for his continuous support and inspiration.
Banshee Performance 16th May 2017
Photo's by Jen Todman
We have less than a week to prepare for our big day. We've been preparing for this for just under a year, and it's come up so fast. We're really coming along though, we have around 40 minutes of performance to tweak and make perfect in time for next Tuesday. If you'd like to book tickets to our performance 'Do Not Cut The Kindness From Me' then please use the link below. The tickets are free, and we welcome everyone, however you must be over 18, as there is some strong language and mature themes throughout the performance.
In the past few weeks we've really been focusing on our own autobiographical stories, giving the performance a personal touch that's real and hard hitting. Our research stems from our own life experience, and in talking about what's happened in our own lives, we've realised the stories are too similar, too horrific and society sees it as a norm for women. Our lives have been forever changed by certain events that we will portray within 'Do Not Cut The Kindness From Us'. We want to give women a voice that it's okay to stand up and speak out because they're not alone, we're not alone.
We have started to play around with a drone sound, a noise that's constant, and empowering. We see the drone noise as the inability to speak out, it drones out any other noise, our shouts and screams. We are constantly fighting the drone, which plays an important role in our performance.
When you drone out the pain with your 'I love you's' as if that will make it okay, as if that will make it hurt any less." Georgie - Banshee Performance
Photo taken by Tim Drew
Banshee's performance shows society what it's like to be a woman and that we're fighting for our right to not be scared walking home on a night, with keys in between our fingers. We're fighting for our sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunties, friends and future daughters. We're fighting for us.
By Georgia Randall
Love, Banshee x
As a group of feminist women, we often get asked what we think feminism is, why there is feminism and how it affects our lives; Well...
Photo by Getty, Found: www.politico.com/story/2017/01/michelle-obama-next-step-democrats-234047
Above is a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama, ex President of the United States and first lady. Beside them is Donald and Ivanka Trump, the new President and first lady.
Michelle Obama, is not only the first black first lady but also a huge supporter of women's rights. She is such a powerful role model to any woman, as she cares so deeply and wants to make a change.
There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish, whether that's in politics or other fields. Michelle Obama
In march 2015, Michelle Obama set up a charity called 'Let Girls Learn', which gives a right to every girl to access education across the world. Putting funds into already existing schemes and setting new ones up, so that girls can feel safe and secure when learning so they can reach their full potential.
On monday, may 1st 2017 Donald Trump has decided to put an end to the initiative, ordered to 'cease immediately' even though it has secured enough funding to continue in over 50 countries for years to come. Women have fought for centuries, and it's shocking that one man can undo so much good in the world and people can stand by and let it happen.
Feminism has paved the way for women to have better lives, to be able to work, to be able to vote, to be able to love yourself. Feminism has played a role in the civil rights movement, the suffragettes stood up for what they believed in, and sadly died for it, and much more. Feminism is still needed today, because without it, women would not have a voice, support or freedom. There is still a fight that needs to be fought, women all over the world are still being raped, murdered, trafficked, abused, and tortured. In developing countries women don't have access to police, hospitals, support networks, or abortion clinics. In fact, it wasn't long ago that abortion in England was illegal.
“Women would drink bleach to try to induce miscarriage. They would have very hot baths, or move heavy furniture, or try to do it themselves with a needle or a crochet hook,” Diane Munday
Our performance is a cry for help for all the women out there who aren't safe, aren't treated fairly or don't have a stable education. Our performance is a small step in the right direction and if it persuades any of our audience members that feminism is still so important, then we have done our part and made the world that tiny bit safer.
By Georgia Randall
Love, Banshee. x