Performance research session with Yael Shavit and Olivia Plender


A workshop/ performance research session led by theatre director Yael Shavit and Olivia Plender.
The workshop departs from a text by Sylvia Pankhurst, from the early twentieth century suffragette movement, in which she describes the effect of hunger strike on the body. Sylvia Pankhurst was an activist and founder of the East London Federation of Suffragettes. She suffered imprisonment many times as part of the struggle to win women the vote and in the text she describes in detail the gruelling effects of multiple hunger strikes and the forced feeding that she underwent, in prison at the hands of the government. In the workshop we will think about the effects of political structures, institutional structures, hierarchies, power and authority on the body and the voice. In the extreme example presented by Sylvia Pankhurst in the text, she describes a direct confrontation with the British political system of that time, but there are also many more subtle ways in which our bodies are affected by different political and institutional structures. In line with the feminist approach where the ‘personal is political’ we will address our own experiences and how the structures that we inhabit and the institutions that we encounter have affected
our bodies and our voices, such as work, the welfare system, hospitals, the institution of the family and so on. We will also consider the voiceless-ness and feelings of invisibility that can result from encounters with political and institutional structures, who has the right to speak in public, the difference between the collective and individual voice and how this is affected by our gender, race and class.

This is a performance based research session and so the techniques that we will use are drawn from the workshop methods that Yael uses in her work in the theatre. In a gentle way we will share experiences, explore our relation to the historical material and how we use our bodies. The text will be shared in advance.

Please e-mail to reserve your place.