The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of WWII

Published On 14 September, 2016 | Latest News

The Woman is Present: Women Stories of WWII – Re-imagined moments from the lives of women in WWII by Deirdre Kinahan, Fiona Bawn Thompson, Mary Moynihan and Paul Kennedy

The theatre performance The Woman is Present: Women’s Stories of World War II by Deirdre Kinahan, Mary Moynihan, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Paul Kennedy had it’s world premiere at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin, on the 14, 15, 16 September 2016, nightly at 7.30pm. The performances are re-imagined moments from the lives of women in WWII recalling stories of bravery, sacrifice and love as powerful women stood up against Fascism and refused to accept oppression.  The performance features:

Margaret Skinnider adapted for the stage by Mary Moynihan from Doing My Bit for Ireland by Margaret Skinnider, additional lines by Peter Sheridan, performed by Róisín McAtamney, directed by Mary Moynihan

Mary Elmes by Mary Moynihan, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Paul Kennedy performed by Róisín McAtamney, directed by Mary Moynihan

Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria, film script by Mary Moynihan, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Paul Kennedy, performed by Margaret Toomey as Dolores, Ella Brady as child and Fiona Bawn Thompson and Romana Testacecca as women

 Neus Català Pallejà by Mary Moynihan, performed by Fiona Bawn Thompson, directed by Bairbre Ní Chaoimh

Maria Eugenia Jasińska by Paul Kennedy, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Mary Moynihan, performed by Fiona Bawn Thompson, directed by Bairbre Ní Chaoimh

Marta Hillers by Paul Kennedy, Fiona Bawn Thompson and Mary Moynihan, performed by Fiona Bawn Thompson, directed by Bairbre Ní Chaoimh

Ode to Ettie Steinberg by Deirdre Kinahan, performed by Róisín McAtamney, directed by Mary Moynihan

Women’s stories that have inspired the performance include Ettie Steinberg (1914-42) the only female Jewish Irish citizen known to have been murdered in Auschwitz; Margaret Skinnider (1893-1971) a revolutionary feminist and maths teacher who came to Dublin from Scotland at the age of 23 to fight in the 1916 Easter Rising and who remained in Ireland and campaigned for women’s rights in the trade union movement from the 1930s onwards; Mary Elmes (1908-2002), a Cork woman who was the first Irish person honoured as ‘Righteous Among Nations’ for her work saving Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers during World War II; Marta Hillers from Germany who wrote her autobiography Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) under the name ‘Anonyma’ (Anonymous), detailing her experiences of the last days of WWII as she and over one million other women were raped and abused by Allied soldiers of the Red Army; Neus Català Pallejà from Spain, a member of the United Socialist Party of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, an active collaborator with the French Resistance during WWII and the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück, one of the largest concentration camps set up by the Nazis especially for women; Maria Eugenia Jasińska from Łódź in Poland who worked for the resistance and gave up her own life rather than ‘name names’; and Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria (1895-1989), from Spain, a revolutionary leader, political activist, Communist and crusader against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War who created the famous cry ‘They Shall Not Pass’.

The theatre performance is directed by Mary Moynihan and Bairbre Ní Chaoimh, performed by Fiona Bawn Thompson and Róisín Mc Atamney with Margaret Toomey and Ella Brady featuring on film. The production team are Tara Doolan, set design and projection/AV programme, Risa Ando, costume design, Cillian McNamara, lighting design and Eva Walsh, production stage manager. Producers are Freda Manweiler and Mary Moynihan.

Sabina Coyne Higgins with actors

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Theatre Performance – Audience Feedback

‘Thanks Freda and all the cast and crew of The Woman is Present! What a wonderful evening’ Mary Duffin, Audience member

‘Saw ‘The Woman is Present’ last night, a call to the heart: Stop war and trumpet the heroism of women, missing from history’. Dr Eric Weitz, TCD

‘It was just brilliant! The two actors were phenomenal. Well done to everyone involved!’  Niamh Clowery, Audience member

‘Brilliant, moving, eye opening journey into stories of women’s bravery tonight. Well done to all involved’, Audience Member

 

Women War and Peace

The above events are presented as part of Women, War and Peace, an innovative year-long transnational project with four European partners from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Poland. The project uses creative processes of theatre and film to explore the role of women in Europe from 1916 to World War II to the present and the power of the arts and the EU in promoting peace and gender equality today. The project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund and the four European partners are:

  • Smashing Times Theatre Company, Ireland, www.smashingtimes.ie
  • Institute de Formacion Y Estudios Sociales (IFES), Valencia, Spain, www.ifes.es
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet, Hannover, Germany, www.uni-hannover.de
  • University of Humanities and Economics in Lodz, Poland, www.ahe.lodz.pl

Smashing Times are delighted to welcome the Drama Department, School of Drama, Film and Music, at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College as a partner for the Women War and Peace International Symposium and performance.

Information : + 353 (0) 1 865 6613

 

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