ROH celebrates International Women’s Day

Published: 12 February 2023
Reporter: Vera Liber

Aisha Webber, Amanda de Souza and Paris Crossley in Born to Exist Credit: Karin Jonker

The Royal Opera House will celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March in the Linbury Theatre with a dedicated panel discussion exploring themes of gender equity in dance with Aishwarya Raut, dancer with Rambert, Joseph Toonga, Royal Ballet Emerging Choreographer, Emma Southworth, Creative Producer for The Royal Ballet, Kloé Dean, freelance dancer and performer with Just Us Dance and Nadia Gardner, freelance dancer and performer with Just Us Dance chaired by broadcaster Brenda Emmanus OBE.

There will also be behind-the-scenes tours designed to recognise the work of female artists, creatives and industry leaders who have helped shape the history of opera and ballet.

The event will also include the Royal Opera House première of Born to Exist—The Women I Know, created by Joseph Toonga for his dance company Just Us Dance Theatre as part of his hip-hop dance trilogy, Born to Manifest, Born to Protest and Born to Exist. Toonga was inspired by the women in his life and has worked with three female dancers to create a work that explores the pressures, experiences and frustrations of being a woman in the 21st century.

Two HERstory tours will be available to join on International Womens Day, which look back over hundreds of years of history, from the innovators who helped the Allied War effort to choreographers and composers who transformed ballet and opera forever. Many of these women defied the gender conventions of their day.

Led by Royal Opera creative producers Sarah Crabtree and Kate Wyatt, The Royal Opera’s Engender Network continues to provide career-enhancing support and a space for professional visibility for women and non-binary people in opera. The Engender Festival returns 30 June–2 July centered on two new works led by women: Maria Fusco's film History of the Present and Woman at Point Zero, a contemporary multimedia opera.

In addition to events in the Linbury Theatre, a programme of informal fringe events will be running throughout the 2023 Engender festival.

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