A festival which celebrates women and girls and looks at the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential is coming to Chester next year.
Organised by the team who will run Chester’s new £37m Storyhouse theatre, cinema and library and producers of Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, WOW (Women of the World) will take place over the weekend of May 20–21 at the city’s new venue.
The WOW festival was launched at London’s Southbank Centre in 2011 by artistic director Jude Kelly and is now a global event with 15 WOWs in five continents and more than one million people involved across the world.
WOW Chester will have a line-up of inspirational talks, performance, comedy, panel discussions, music, a marketplace, networking and workshops.
The festival will aim to bring women and men together to speak about how they are making the world a fairer place.
Jude Kelly CBE, Southbank Centre’s artistic director and founder of WOW, said: “Based on the premise that an equal world is better for all of us, WOW is a celebration not only of women and girls but of equality in all its forms.
“The festival is a celebration of the lives that women of all ages live, not just locally, but right across the world, the challenges they face, the gender issues that affect them, the indomitable spirit they have and the hope they give for the future.”
Kate Carpenter, head of programming for Storyhouse, said “We want to share women’s stories. As a new cultural home for our communities it felt right to host the festival at Storyhouse.
“WOW will celebrate and challenge what it means to be a woman today. It will be a mixture of debates and discussions, performance and exchange. It’s for women and girls as well as men and boys – we want as many as possible to feel part of the festival.”
WOW Chester is being programmed collaboratively with individuals and organisations from across the country with Thinkins that bring together local people to share ideas, suggestions and propose speakers, which will influence the shape of the topics, issues and debates at WOW Chester.
Ahead of WOW Chester in 2017, Storyhouse are holding Thinkin sessions over the next few weeks: Thursday, November 24 from 7-9pm and Friday, November 25 from 10am-noon, both at the Unity Centre in Cuppin Street; and at Whitby Hall in Ellesmere Port on Saturday, November 26 from 10.30am–12.30pm.
To take part and find out more visit www.storyhouse.com/event/wow-thinkin