Stand Up for International Women’s Day

Top female comedy brand stands up to violence against women

Funny Women Stand Up – Monday 8th March 2010

International Women’s Day

Some of the best and most innovative female comedy acts take to the stage in support of Funny Women’s annual charity gala, Funny Women Stand Up, on International Women’s Day, Monday 8th March. This is a fabulous comedy romp of a show with something for everybody and free cake! The serious message alongside the laughs is about bringing attention to the issues surrounding violence against women.

Box office proceeds raised on the night will be donated to V-Day UK which is hosted by Tender, a charity that aims to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence.

V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalise the spirit of existing anti-violence organisations. V-Day in the UK campaigns to prevent violence against women and girls, including rape, domestic violence, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), so-called ‘honour killings’ and sexual slavery.

Each year community activists and students join the V-Day movement to produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. These benefit performances also ‘spotlight‘ a global aspect of violence against women. In 2010 V-Day’s spotlight is on the appalling sexual violence being used as a weapon in an economic war against women and girls of all ages across Eastern Congo (hundreds of thousands have been brutalised). V-Day believes that the story of the Congo needs to be told to the rest of the world. As thousands of citizens around the world are awakening to the catastrophe that is taking place in the Congo – one that has left 6 million dead – we here in the UK must not be silent on this issue.

Women and men in the UK are being informed of the horrors that are facing our Congolese sisters right now, in order to speak with one voice – “No more rape in the DRC”. Shockingly a woman or girl is being raped every half an hour in the DRC.

This year’s Funny Women Stand Up takes place at the fabulous Leicester Square Theatre, rapidly becoming one of the leading venues for comedy in the beating heart of London’s theatreland and already home to Funny Women’s Second Sunday Showcases, held in the studio each month. The line up reflects the wide range of female comedy talent that Funny Women presents and supports through its annual competition, the Funny Women Awards, and its programme of events across the UK.

Hosting the evening will be everybody’s favourite comedy mum, Mrs. Barbara Nice, ‘Barbara as in Streisand, Nice as in biscuit’, who is the alter ego of the very talented Janice Connolly. Impressionist and star of BBC’s Dead Ringers, Jan Ravens and the brilliant laconic wit of Shazia Mirza promise to be more shining highlights of this fantastic evening.

Featuring a vibrant cornucopia of talent including 2009 Funny Women Awards winner Miss London, and runners up: impressionist Eve Webster and character act, Jo Selby. Plus an array of past winners including Suzy Bennett, Andi Osho and Katherine Ryan, finished off with a dash of sketch and character comedy from Domestic Goddi, Carrie Quinlan, Lizzie Roper, Fordham & Pilkington, and Bridget Christie, music from Leisa Rea, and cabaret from Circularity Thinking. Special guests attending to represent V-Day include Lynne Franks and Meera Syal.

This is the seventh year that Funny Women has staged a charity benefit on International Women’s Day and this event fulfils the company’s pledge ‘to laugh about life to help and heal women.’ The event grew out of a collaboration between Funny Women founder and producer, Lynne Parker, and government advisor and former stand-up comic, Ayesha Hazarika.

“We are always very grateful to the acts who give up their time to put on this show each year,” explains Lynne. “We are particularly pleased to be staging the show at the Leicester Square Theatre this year as it is one of those hidden gems of a venue. This show will appeal to our regulars and comedy virgins alike, plus we’ll be raising money and awareness to help the women and girls of the Congo and build the City of Joy.”

The show on the 8th March marks the launch of a two week festival to celebrate International Women’s Day, See You Next Tuesday, which runs to the 20th March and plays host to a programme of cultural activities based at the New Players Theatre.

Not Just A Pretty Face
If women were running things, how would the world be different?

Monday 15th March

These are tough times – we are faced with broken social support structures, a volatile economic system, continued violence against women, religious conflict and war. It’s time to start changing the culture. Our discussion starts where the anger and violence ends and focuses on the future.

Funny Women have joined forces with social impact initiative Candied Thinking to invite you to take part in this conversation. Women are a powerful force for affecting change in the world today. Each of us can make a difference – some of us have a professional mandate and others a personal one. Everything from what we read, watch and talk about in our daily lives to our ongoing relationship with the media has an impact. This conversation, Not Just A Pretty Face, asks us to consider what our views are, how will we get them heard, and how will the world be different?

The line up of speakers includes:
DR. LINDA PAPADOPOULOS, one of the foremost counselling psychologists in the UK, is well known as a media psychologist, author, magazine columnist and corporate consultant. She has recently published a review of the ‘sexualisation of women and children’ for the Home Office.

DIANNE NELMES, one of Britain’s leading lifestyle television creators, launched award winning This Morning; Stars in their Eyes and You’ve Been Framed and was the first Controller of Daytime television at ITV where she created the iconic daytime panel show, Loose Women.

AYESHA HAZARIKA, political advisor, specialises in issues relating to women and equality. She was presented with the Asian Women’s Young Achiever of the Year Award in 2005.

DAVINA JAMES-HANMAN, director of the Greater London Domestic Violence Project, was a Home Office advisor, and worked on the government’s strategy to stop violence against women.

LYNNE FRANKS, business woman, author, broadcaster and provider of women’s learning and coaching programmes on economic empowerment through the SEED community.

MALCOLM EVANS, semiotician, consults to major brands on cultural issues, helping them to communicate in a relevant and progressive way.

KAREN DARBY, social entrepreneur, founder of Simply Switch and Call Britannia with a mission to create 10,000 jobs for the unemployed.

See www.vdayuk.org for more details about joining the campaign.
You can also donate now by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/funnywomen

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