Vagina Monologues takes to stage in Manchester to raise awareness for female victims of violence

By Sarah Brook

Vagina Monologues will take to the stage this week in Stretford to raise awareness for the one billion women who experience violence in their lifetime.

Produced and directed by the Lesbian Gay Foundation, the play covers issues about rape, abuse, female genital mutilation as well as looking at uplifting stories about great sex, pubic hair and orgasms.

With 18 amateur actresses involved between the ages of 18 and 62, director Kathy McGuirk promises the show will be one to remember.

“You will experience high emotions from start to finish. One monologue is hilarious and the next will have your eyes filling with tears,” she said.

“I hope men leave in ore and women leave the play empowered.”

“I love the show. I have seen it four times before and have been a cast member once too.”

The play – originally written by Eve Ensler – will take place in Gorse Hill Studios on Thursday and Friday, in line with International Women’s Day.

Funds go to LGF and the One Billion Rising campaign – a call to action based on the statistic that one in three women will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.

Creative writer Rebecca Smith admitted she is thrilled to be taking part in the play.

“Being involved presents a chance to engage with a discussion of the female body which is written on its own terms, and for a good purpose,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s also fun to be given permission to say vagina frequently. It’s still a word with power.

“Some of the stories of rape or violence I’ve heard before in my friend’s voices. I want to be part of a message of endurance and support.”

Reactions to the original Vagina Monologues – which started out as vagina interviews – launched a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

In 1998, V-Day – a non-profit charity – was launched and February 14 was given a new meaning to women all over the world.

The charity now acts as a catalyst for performances of the Vagina Monologues, to raise money to benefit female victims of violence and sexual abuse.

With V-Days new ambitious One Billion Rising campaign encouraging women to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence, females are joining forces to make themselves heard.

Although the monologues take actresses outside of their comfort zone, Miss McGuirk admitted once the ladies started talking about their vaginas, they couldn’t stop.

Actress Rebecca Smith also agreed with her director and admitted that even though she felt out of depth, it was something she wanted to do.

“At times I’ve felt embarrassed and shamed by the words I’m reading, then scared but exhilarated that I’m allowing myself to read them,” Miss Smith added.

“I remember my best friend telling me she had been raped. If she can be brave enough to talk to me about that, then the least I can do is get on stage and be a vagina!” 

The play will take place on March 7 and 8 at Gorse Hill Studios, Stretford.

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