HERstory – Brighton Festival Saturday 1st – Monday 31st May 2021

HERstory – Brighton Festival Saturday 1st – Monday 31st May 2021

HERstory is a city-wide audio storytelling experience that uncovers women’s lives and work usually hidden from history.  Part of the Brighton Festival, these are the real stories of Brighton-based women as they have lived through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Insightful and inspiring, HERstory brings to life the works of writers including Sabrina Mahfouz, Jade Anouka, Kate O’Donnell, Nessah Muthy, Monsay Whitney, Rachael Young and Yolanda Mercy and seeks to carve out a space where women can be heard.

These incredible and moving pieces challenge some of the most important and universal issues of the day, which have become ever more pertinent during the last year.  Nessah Muthy’s work explores a strained mother-daughter relationship held together by love, while Rachael Young explores the exhaustion of a hospital worker left alone in the dark.  In I Find The Light Sabrina Mahfouz celebrates one woman’s choice to quit her boring office job and embrace a new way of living as a sex worker.  Yolanda Mercy explores education and one woman’s fight to help refugees.  Other works explore the pandemic through the eyes of a child, single mums, the fight for freedom, the important of finding connections when we feel alone and the longing for new beginnings.

Other writers involved in HERStory include Zena Rose-Allen, Mia Daliya Cunningham, Shirley Falchi, Jenny Milligan, Julie Orchard, Anna Osella, Malasula Peace, Phonetic, Boudicca Pepper, Nou Ra and Carley Reid.  Arch468 commissioned 18 writers in total, 8 of which are community writers from Brighton.  The community writers underwent a 4-week storytelling workshop which was led by Stef O’Driscoll and Nessah Muthy.

Travel around Brighton to discover and listen to a trail of stories that celebrate the truth and power of women all around us.  At 18 different listening posts in Hangleton, Moulsecoomb, Whitehawk and Central Brighton, people can scan a unique QR code to discover the stories and portraits of these Brighton women, all captured by photographer Amaal Said.  Former Barbican Young Poet, Said’s work has been featured in the likes of Vogue, The Guardian and The New Yorker.

Creative Director Stef O’Driscoll comments, We are incredibly excited to be able to share these insightful and inspiring stories celebrating women’s experiences during the pandemic.  As the country slowly comes out of lockdown we need arts and culture more than ever to remind us how to reconnect with each other.  We hope audiences will gain an understanding of a variety of women’s lived experiences from all walks of life and come to celebrate them and experience comfort in the familiarity or possibly understanding and compassion in the difference.

HERstory is an Arch 468 Production, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival, Arch 468, Lighthouse and created by Stef O’Driscoll.  HERstory is produced with support from Re-Imagine Europe, Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, additional funds from Brandwatch and supported by Digital Democracies.

Special thanks to Audio Active, Brighton People’s Theatre, Bottega Rooms, Cascade Creative Recovery, Green Little Pig, Miss Represented and Trans Creative.