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Fellow Yvonne Murphy guest blogs about her all female production of Richard III.  Read about her plans and find out how you can help make it happen.

Fellow Yvonne Murphy guest blogs about her all female production of Richard III. Read about her plans and find out how you can help make it happen.

I am a new RSA & Clore Fellow and I run Omidaze Productions. I am staging an all-female production of Shakespeare's Richard III, supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in February 2015 and I need your support. I have launched an RSA Kickstarter campaign because we literally cannot afford to pay everyone we want to be involved and make it happen as planned unless we reach our target and I need your support.

This Richard III will be staged in the Roof Void Space of Wales Millennium Centre which has never before been used as a full public performance space. This staging decision, of being inside a major theatre venue but not in a conventional theatre space came from our production development stage which looked at ways to break down barriers to theatre attendance and engage new audiences. We are very lucky to get Arts Council project funding at a time when Arts Council funding across the UK has ben severely cut along with local authority investment in the arts. We are also supported by the Wales Millennium Centre.

Did you know women make up 68% of theatre audiences but often less than 30% of the creative talent both on and off-stage is female?

Through this all-female production of Richard III we seek to advance women's equality in the theatre industry and engage new audiences in theatre and Shakespeare. We want to challenge preconceived ideas about how and where Shakespeare should be staged and who it is for. We aim to specifically engage a non-traditional theatre/Shakespeare going audience including those from areas of acknowledged deprivation. We will achieve this by taking parts of the production process into schools through our Open Rehearsal Strategy.

wmc image II (3)We will challenge gender inequality in the theatre industry by taking affirmative action and using only women for every role both on and off-stage.

The industry accepted minimum weekly wage for actors is £430 a week. We need an ensemble of eight actors, plus a creative team. Without the £7000 the production will be severely compromised. Your contribution will go towards contracting three members of that ensemble and team. There is a demand for high quality, distinctive and fresh approaches to Shakespeare in Wales and for Wales to help lead the way to increased roles for women in theatre both on and off stage. Your donation will help us meet that demand.

This production is the culmination of a period of practical research and production development work funded by the Arts Council Wales in 2013. We worked with acknowledged experts in the fields of Shakespeare and Physical Theatre (RSC recommended voice coach, Frantic Assembly, Le Coq and Volcano Theatre practitioners). We provided free Shakespeare workshops for over fifty female actors and put together an ensemble ready to go into production.    

We are in danger of arts and culture becoming a private luxury affordable only by the few

We are very lucky to get Arts Council Funding. Arts Council Funding across the UK has been severely cut. So has local authority funding for the arts.. I have insisted on keeping the ticket prices as low as possible to make this production as accessible as possible.

wmc image II (2)

Please support this production and wider access to the arts. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll support us.

Yvonne Murphy

@Omidaze & Website

Read Yvonne’s Omidaze blog and get tickets for Richard III online and join the debate.


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