Of the many, many, many things that the wistful me in 2019 would never be able to appreciate, it’s the giddy excitement of asking someone the question, “How are you?” and not pretty much knowing the answer already.
Within a few weeks of the first lockdown, this air of mystery had been bayoneted by the general understanding that we are mostly indoors and quietly going mad. That may not be the verbatim response, maybe you’d tell me you were making sourdough, or had bought a houseplant, or that we “have to look at the positive”. By lockdown three, we still ask out of courtesy, and reply with tag ons of “well, aside from everything” or a customary shrug.
And yet, finally, the butterflies came a tumbling as I sat opposite our producer, Raven, in Singapore. And again with Justine in Melbourne, or Roxy and Gillian in Amsterdam, or Robin in the USA – well actually, that was similar, but at least for some different reasons.
I don’t think I could fairly summarise the uplifting and hopeful experience that has come with running Funny Women’s community programme in a time of being indoors and quietly going mad, but Funny Women Around the World would come pretty close. While these times had started with the doors shutting on live performances and opportunities, somewhere we have managed to stay connected with people across the country and even the globe. People with very different experiences from history to present, but with a combined passion of embracing laughter and empowering women and other marginalised genders.
I first came back to Funny Women professionally because when most of my industry was closing down, the 2020 Awards carried on like a beacon. And this tour de force has carried on in workshops, performances, panels and podcasts. So looking ahead to International Women’s Day, and all that we have achieved, the only thing to do is take all that amazing energy from the past year and deliver it in a twelve-hour stream on Twitch.
If you are missing performances, we absolutely have you covered. Stephanie Chan is dialing in from Singapore with her latest hilarious observations, Glasgow is giving you experimental cabaret, and we even have a new generation of comedy talent performing in Salford. And of course, there is our flagship Awards Showcase, hosted by Sooz Kempner with an evening of fabulous female comedy talent from Funny Women Awards alumni Katie Green, Eryn Tett, Mary O’Connell and headliner Sarah Keyworth.
We’re not done there.
For more behind the scenes events, we have panels and discussions coming from Melbourne, Amsterdam, USA, Japan, Germany and Portugal, which even includes a live recording of our Behind the Scenes Podcast with the iconic Ivy Paige! We have arts and crafts from Kent, improvisation from Bristol, clowning from Exeter, and dancing with Rubbyyy Jones and Prinx Lydia in Toronto.
If you’re looking for something playful, Eyre-Leigh Doors hails from Bristol and London to use their guest’s history and love to playfully guess what they want from the future, and in Dublin, Four Irish and one American take you through the ABCD of Irish culture.
This isn’t even the whole list. We are still announcing more incredible work by all these amazing and funny creatives. So make sure to check out what we have in store, both for Saturday 6th March and in the future. Because if this has all taught me anything, it’s that there isn’t really a limit to where Funny Women’s ambitions and ethos can take us.
Oh, and I’m great thank you, don’t know if you saw from Instagram but my asparagus fern Franz Ferndinand is coming along nicely. (Some things still need a little time).
Funny Women Around the World is taking place on Saturday 6th March from 10.00am to 10.00pm GMT. If you want to be a hero like me for the full event, you absolutely can, but otherwise drop in when you like!