Take Up Space: Empowerment & Taking Up Space
The Empowerment workshop aimed to motivate, inspire and empower young women between the ages of 14-18. We believe that it’s important for young women to have an understanding of the impact they have on the world and encourage them to strive for their future goals, as well as understanding that, even through difficult times, they are still powerful and strong women.
At the start of the workshop we had the participants identify women who they believed were empowering and inspired them. They chose women such as Ellen DeGeneres, Malala, Beyoncé and JK Rowling. In groups they focused on the timeline of these women’s lives, highlighting the struggles they had faced as well as their success; using this they created monologues for each section of that woman’s life. The monologues were read aloud and identified how that person may have been feeling at that time in their life. It highlighted to the young women in the room that even through hard times, those struggles don’t define who you are and you can still find success in your own timeline of life, just like the women who inspire them.
Towards the end of the workshop, the young people were asked to think about what they want to achieve in the future. They wrote letters to their future selves to encourage and motivate themselves, especially if they were going through a difficult time. This was to highlight how far they have come and to show how important and strong they are as young women.
The group really enjoyed the workshop and expressed how much the activities inspired and motivated them to push for their goals and career paths. Many of them asked for future empowering workshops at the Royal Court, as they believed more young women should be able to experience taking part in one.
“You have plenty of courage, I am sure. All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Jasmyn Fisher-Ryner, Young Court Assistant and Ellie Fulcher, Young Court Workshop Leader
Take Up Space: Script Club (Portia Coughlan)
The Take Up Space Script Club is a recurring monthly event in the Take Up Space series. The idea was to take the model of a book club and focus on plays written by writers who identify as female, opening a discussion about these texts and how they might be conceived in production.
The plays we’ve chosen for these sessions encompass a real mix of themes and subject matters. For our June session, we read Portia Coughlan by Marina Carr, a play set in rural Ireland about a young woman struggling to live her life since the death of her twin brother 15 years earlier. On the anniversary of the death, we find her battling with her relationships with family members, particularly her husband and parents, and also seemingly neglecting her young children. We talked about the darkness that is imbued in the play and the ambiguity of its structure; whether we were seeing the play jump forwards and then backwards in time or whether it was less literal and the play was offering imagined situations. Opinions on this differed within the group and it was interesting to see how the play had been interpreted so differently by the group.
A lot of our conversation centred around Portia, our protagonist. We thought about how she might be perceived by the audience; whether she would be judged more harshly as a mother of young children and how much might have changed (or, indeed, not changed) in the twenty years since the play was first produced. The dialect of the characters is written into the language of the play and this led to many debates and questions, both about the possible intention of the writer’s decision to do this and also how a director might approach this when deciding to direct their own production of the play.
As is now our routine, we finished with a chat about how we might imagine the script in production. The play is rooted in its setting and the presence of a river onstage would certainly throws up a lot of challenges! There are some particularly striking theatrical images that we felt would be just as exciting in production today as we imagined they would have been in the original production.
- Ellie Horne, Literary Assistant, Monica Siyanga, Casting Assistant & Romina Ahearne, Assistant to the Executives.