The past few years, International Women’s Day has become a special date on my calendar; a day to celebrate the amazing women and girls around me, be introduced to women who inspire me, support one another and lift each other up. It’s a chance to celebrate the social, economic, political and indeed cultural achievements of women.
LAC had an amazing 2018 celebrating the Centenary of the Representation of the People Act. Our Summer Exhibition ‘Wifies’ explored what it meant to be a women in Caithness from 1918 to the modern day and showcased the amazing female artists the county is home to. We played host to hundreds of female artists from across the world including poet and writer Gerda Stevenson, Aussie cabaret queens Mother’s Ruin, folk-legend Siobhan Miller and even held an all-female comedy night.
2019 is no different and to mark the end of International Women’s Week we have a totally unique event happening at the arts centre this Sunday in the form of ‘Silent Divas: Assunta Spina’. The evening will introduce audiences to one of Italian cinema’s greatest ‘silent divas’ with live musical accompaniment performed by the not-so-silent six-piece Italian folk band The Badwills.
The film tells the dramatic story of our eponymous heroine: a beautiful laundress in 1910s Napoli torn between two men who can’t control her passions. The great diva Francesca Bertini stars as Assunta and has since been credited as the film’s co-director. The project has been touring Scotland uncovering the hidden histories of women and archive activists Invisible Women have been hunting out short films to champion the work of female filmmakers overlooked, un-credited or left out of the history of cinema.
But the fun doesn’t stop this week as we’ve got more amazing women travelling to Caithness throughout March. Mairi Campbell, who has performed for Bill Clinton and starred in Sex and the City joins us for a night at Lyth and another evening in Melvich sharing stories of her adventures with Scotland’s most famous song ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
Later in the month Jenny Sturgeon, who you might have seen perform with Northern Flyway last year, returns heading up her trio. Jenny is working on a new album inspired by fellow Aberdonian Nan Shepherd and her seminal book ‘The Living Mountain’ which, as a big Nan Shepherd fan, I can’t wait to hear. As well as being a talented musician, Jenny is also a fantastic visual artist. I loved the sleeve art for her debut album ‘From the Skein’ which she designed herself and features gliding black geese flying over a patchwork landscape background. You can see more of her art here.
As a venue committed to having (at least) 50/50 gender split across our programme, line-up’s like this aren’t just something for International Women’s Day or special centenary’s. Be sure to check out upcoming shows from musicians like Josie Duncan, Claire Hastings, Mairearad Green and Anna Massie, writers and storytellers Morna Burdon and Kate Leiper, and playwright Mariem Omari and director Rachael Macintyre.
So with all this amazing female talent on offer, I’ll leave you on International Women’s Day 2019 with a note of inspiration and one of my favourite Nan Shepherd quotes –
“To aim for the highest point is not the only way to climb a mountain.”
To see all our upcoming performances, check out our Event Calendar here.