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Taking stock of theatre in a moment of quiet: women are on the march

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Powerful moment: It is now over four years since the key events of #WakingTheFeminists, the protests led by designer Lian Bell. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Powerful moment: It is now over four years since the key events of #WakingTheFeminists, the protests led by designer Lian Bell. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Powerful moment: It is now over four years since the key events of #WakingTheFeminists, the protests led by designer Lian Bell. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

The busy spring season of theatre openings has ground to a halt. Sadly, some shows that were gaining significant momentum have had their runs curtailed, others have been postponed. This week's column should have seen a review of The Lonsdale Project, a new work by Sian Ní Mhuirí, about Newbridge-born scientist Kathleen Lonsdale, running in Smock Alley after opening in the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge. There should also have been a review of Hothouse, a new play by Dylan Coburn Gray with MALAPROP theatre, at Project Arts Centre. This latter was part of the extensive Where We Live festival for the St Patrick's Day holiday - all cancelled. Hopefully these shows will rise again. Strange times.

Looking around at the theatre landscape, currently in its shattered state, it is an opportunity to take stock in a moment of quiet.

It is now over four years since the key events of #WakingTheFeminists, the protests led by designer Lian Bell, at the near exclusion of women's voices from the centenary celebrations in the Abbey Theatre's programme for 2016. This was not the first major rebellion against the exclusion of women from artistic space. Notably there had been the protests arising from the near-absense of women in The Field Day Anthology in the early 1990s. But despite a lot of agitation and hand-wringing back then, nothing actually changed. There was always the wry joke that Irish feminism got the backlash without ever actually getting the lash.