Putting women in the spotlight
A celebration of women both past and present was held in the ACCESS 2000 premises last week as large crowds gathered to mark International Women's Day.
The event is always a special day for the ACCESS community but this year's proved particularly significant as it tied in with the 1916 commemorations. To honour the two events, several strong-minded and enthusiastic members of the group decided to stage their first ever play, entitled 'Cakes and Conflict'.
Written and produced by the nine cast members themselves, the one act play portrayed a shared experience of a disparate group of women from different cultural, political and religious backgrounds. Despite the fact that the cast members had only six weeks to rehearse - not to mention the fact that they had never done drama before - the play turned out to be a huge success. This was partially thanks to Kathleen Tierney from the Ballycogley Players, who assisted with the production of the play.
In a speech on the day, Ellie Hughes, chairperson of ACCESS said: 'We all very proud of the women and on behalf of the board and staff, we would like to express our sincere thanks for providing us with such a extraordinary performance to celebrate this very special day for women around the world.'
Project Co-ordinator Marie Donegan also praised the women, and noted the importance of their play in relation to the work of ACCESS.
'ACCESS has always encouraged and supported women to become independent, confident and to step out of their comfort zone and we have succeeded,' she said. 'We have seen many women come through our doors, women who are now working, women who have returned to education, or others who are simply doing what they always did, but with more dignity and confidence in themselves. Today we are doing this again with women expressing themselves through drama.'
It wasn't only the cast members who got into character. Guests were also encouraged to dress up in costumes that echoed the style of 1916. Everyone went to enormous efforts, particularly Bridgid O'Brien and Ilona Rygolova, who won the prizes for best dressed on the day.
To compliment a morning of drama and dress-up, everyone enjoyed some homemade tea and cakes later on.