Inspiring women in the spotlight at

International Women’s Day

WOMEN from across Greater Manchester celebrated International Women’s Day at Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s fourth annual event on Friday (March 8).

In partnership with the Ashton-based Jigsaw Homes Group, residents from Oldham and Tameside were given backstage access to the borough’s historic theatre for a day packed with creative activities plus inspiring talks from local actress Amy Gavin and Social Media guru Rubbi Bhogal-Wood.

Amy played local heroine Annie Kenney in BBC’s The Suffragettes in June last year. In December she reprised the role of Annie, delivering one of her rousing speeches, at the launch event at Gallery Oldham ahead of the unveiling of the commemorative statue of Annie Kenney at Oldham’s Parliament Square. Amy is no stranger to the Coliseum stage having played Nancy in 2016’s popular production of Gaslight.

Amy said: “Being from Oldham, I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to portray Annie Kenney. Through researching her I have learnt so much more about the Suffragette movement and have met so many inspiring women. I feel privileged that I get to share this International Women’s Day with women in my hometown. I think Annie would approve!"

Rubbi is founder and director of Wild and Form Digital, a company which specialises in helping small to medium sized businesses grow online through Social Media.

With 20 years’ experience in the advertising business, Rubbi is passionate about female leadership and entrepreneurship and is keen to inspire the next generation of business women.

She said: “Every woman has a story to tell. Every woman deserves to tell it. Unfortunately, not all are able to do so. I feel honoured to be able to share a bit of mine with the likeminded women attending the event at the Coliseum.

For me, International Women’s Day means doing my bit to join in the wondrous global effort to lift and raise women and pave the way for future female generations to tell their stories, on their terms and in their own unique way.”

The global theme for 2019’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, calling for a more gender-balanced world. Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue; #BalanceforBetter is a call to action for accelerating gender-balanced boardrooms, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage and more.

Carly Henderson, head of learning and engagement at Oldham Coliseum Theatre said: “International Women’s Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate the work we deliver with Jigsaw Homes Group and the participants who really shape our work. This year our women’s group, delivered in partnership with Jigsaw Group, curated an exhibition as part of English Touring Theatre’s production of Othello. Their work has a real presence in the building and we’re delighted that practitioner and group leader Caitlin Gleeson will be delivering a workshop based on the themes of #BalanceforBetter as part of the event.”

Ivan Wright, Assistant Director of Neighbourhoods at Jigsaw Group added: “Working with Oldham Coliseum Theatre to run projects and events like International Women’s Day enables us to empower socially isolated women within our communities to go out, make new friends and try something new. We work with tenants from all genders and backgrounds, and through the theatre, we hope to give them the skills and confidence they need to improve their lives.”