Every month we invite our readers to pitch us articles on a theme revealed in our regular newsletter. Find out what our next theme is by subscribing to our newsletter below. This month’s theme is ‘Women Worldwide’ and Miztli Rose’s pitch focusing on the reach the world wide web gives her caught our eye…
March is usually one of my favourite months. Spring is in the air, and I can normally be found nerding out on the Southbank like a kid at Comic-Con as I wait to go into yet another WOW Festival event. Well, the ‘Panny-D’ has made sure that won’t be happening this year. But this isn’t going to be a lament for what we’ve lost because, it turns out that being locked down, doesn’t mean being locked out. In fact, there are more opportunities then ever before to connect with amazing women around the world.
Going digital, for me, provided the key to finding creativity and connection in these strange times as a whole range of talks, workshops and courses flipped online. Many practical barriers to doing classes were gone and, with less overheads, many events were significantly cheaper or even free, making everything more accessible. And as we no longer had to be in the same physical place, comedy became decentralized, allowing for digital spaces to be filled with people from a range of backgrounds and circumstances.
Being confined to our houses has even allowed us to perform internationally (well, kinda); love them or hate them, I’m talking about Zoom comedy gigs. During the pandemic I’ve had the opportunity to be part of an international line-up for a gig streaming in New York. I’ve also worked with a theatre company committed to having an international cast on each show (with performers dutifully emerging bleary eyed for 3am rehearsals). And live-stream gigs were suddenly a click away, allowing for the discovery of brand-new comedians. This has created a little bit of temporal magic in these otherwise lonely times, and has allowed me to work with female creatives I might not have otherwise met.
Going digital has allowed us to forge meaningful connections with incredible women around with world, connections that will be there when the world opens up again. Lost nights at the pub have been replaced with workshops – and a cheeky peak into the living rooms – of some of my comedy heroines, including Bryony Kimmings and Grainne Maguire. It seems that some of these classes are being attended not only by emerging comedians who have a bit more space to deepen their practice but also by women who had never previously considered the possibility of pursuing comedy. Maybe it’s the safety of the Zoom screen that has allowed many of us to be braver, and has perhaps provided a vital step in unearthing new voices.
Ultimately, whilst our worlds have become smaller in the last year, I’ve seen performers adapting and innovating (mentoring, podcasting, Zoom table reads, the list goes on). Women have come together and supported each other in wonderful ways, creating new opportunities as well as addressing the gender imbalances that continue to prevail in the comedy industry. And if I’ve learnt nothing else, it is that incredible women are just a click of a button away. The power for change is literally at our fingertips, and that is maybe one of the best gifts the last year has given us.
Speaking of being just a click of a button away on Saturday 6th March we’ll be taking a virtual trip for Funny Women Around The World, join us for a 12 hour marathon of events to celebrate International Women’s Day here!
Pictured: 2019 Funny Women Award Winner Laura Smyth and Lynne Parker streaming live at a Funny Women Event