It has been a while since we have been in touch and so we hope that this finds everyone well.
We have some great news to share as spring finds her way into our step: Dreadnought has been awarded funding by Arts Council England (South West) to undertake the final stages of developing The Orchard (written by Natalie McGrath & directed by Josie Sutcliffe), with musical director Claire Ingleheart; Saskia Portway will join our two performers, Michelle Ridings and Ruth Mitchell, as a third performer/musician. Saskia is frequently to be seen on Bristol Old Vic’s stage so we are excited to welcome her to this stage of the process. We will be back in the studio experimenting with the form of the work, whilst carrying with us all the wonderful contributions from audiences last year to the development of the script.
We have also been generously awarded funding from Fawcett Devon, Exeter City Council, Literature Works Grassroots fund, and Elmgrant Trust.
All of these funds will also support workshops, planning for future touring of The Orchard, and the continuation of our Rebellious Sounds Archive (including a storytelling event), which we are keen to add more stories to and consolidate as a resource that shares women’s stories about their activism in the region. Anyone reading this who previously showed an interest in being part of this, please do beam in and remind us you are there and we will get in touch.
We are also very excited to be bringing on board independent producer Charlie Parker to the Dreadnought team. Charlie was most recently the Executive Director of the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. Looking forward to the work of this new collaboration.
Natalie and Josie recently visited the fantastic Glasgow Women’s Library, meeting with Adele Patrick and the wider team. It was a chance to explore their new home in Bridgeton, Glasgow, their archives and the wider collection. It was an opportunity to learn about GWL’s work, and ways of supporting women within their communities. A truly inspirational sister organisation. Thanks to them for hosting us. You can find out more about GWL at www.womenslibrary.org.uk or follow them on Twitter @gwlkettle.
We have some recommendations for events coming up in Exeter. Firstly, an exhibition at the Glorious Art House Cafe on Exeter’s Fore St called Labour of Love – An Exploration of Motherhood, 8-22 April. The exhibition is curated by Nomi McLeod, who is also one of the artists exhibiting.
This week also sees the return of Spitz & Co at Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, with Glorilla, on 13-16 April. A delightful French/English female comedy duo who are genuinely funny. Book at www.bikeshedtheatre.co.uk for tickets.
Last, but by no means least, award-winning stand-up comedian Adrienne Truscott brings her show ‘Asking For It’ – a one-lady rape about comedy starring her pussy and little else! – to the Corn Exchange, Exeter, on 4 May 2016, in a fund-raiser for Devon Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Service. Get your tickets soon for this “brilliantly bold and thoroughly engaging provocation.”
Finally, it is with great sadness that we announce the death of an amazing champion of Dreadnought’s first major project in 2013 – Andrea Garrihy passed away on Easter Sunday. Andrea was instrumental in the organising of the wonderful celebrations that took place in 2013 to commemorate the great 1913 women’s suffrage pilgrimage in Corsham, Wiltshire. Particularly the part that Corhsam’s women and men played in this extraordinary story. Andrea was also with us at Land’s End as we launched Oxygen and the celebrations that took place there – a very moving morning for all involved and it was wonderful to see Andrea there supporting the story of the women from 1913. She was dressed in suffragette colours of purple and green. Andrea was a committed supporter of the work of Hypatia Trust, Cornwall, engaging with their projects over many years. We know that they will miss her very deeply, as will her fellow sisters in Corsham. We will forever remember the yarn-bombed Daleks in Corsham High Street on our arrival in July 2013.
As always, a massive thanks to all our supporters, champions and funders.
Josie Sutcliffe and Natalie McGrath
Co-Directors Dreadnought South West