Report by BWV Community reporter Emma Carey, photo credit: Chelsey Cliff
Anna, Gill and Vic are three women working within Bristol arts. But what do they, do, who are they and what have these wonderful women created for International Women’s Day? Queue, 2 O’Clock Beauty Queens, an unapologetic Female Dance Trio who champion female form, sexuality and self-worth.
Anna Haydock-Wilson is a filmmaker, producer and creator of Art Within The Cracks, Gill Simmons is a theatre-maker, producer, performer and Artistic Director of Brave Bold Drama and Vic Hole is a dancer, choreographer, producer and co-founder of 2 O’Clock Beauty Queens. Together, their genre spans across contemporary, commercial and neo-burlesque.
Vic gave me some insights on her thoughts and experience as the producer and co-founder of 2 O’Clock Beauty Queens.
Can you tell us a little bit about the performance?
Gill Simmons and Vic Hole have worked with young women in Year 9 at Merchants Academy in Withywood since January as part of the project Art Within The Cracks. The performance encompasses all the themes we have explored within the sessions; women we admire, how women represent women, confidence in female identity and how we see ourselves within a wider society. At the heart of all of our performances is strength, integrity and honesty. Words which have come up time and time again when talking about women.
How did the collaboration come into existence and why do you think it’s an important piece, particularly for Women’s International Day?
It’s a really important piece for International Women’s Day exploring identity, support and shared values on how it feels to be a woman in their teenage years, a woman in their 30s and a woman in their 40s. It’s across generations but sadly the same issues we were faced with as teenages are still present. Anxieties around beauty, body shape, self-confidence, the pressure to find a man and become a mother have been shared within the group.
What inspired you to get involved in the production?
I value the importance of shared experience, especially across generations and different backgrounds. Learning is about gaining perspective and sharing experience is a sure way to gain. The young women we have worked with from Merchants Academy have been open, brave and incredibly strong. I will take away fond memories of our time dancing, devising and talking to these inspiring young women.
I’m personally interested in gender imbalances after growing up in an environment where my mother was incredibly open and my father was incredibly closed. It’s an exciting time to be making gender based art. The concept of feminine and masculine are being revolutionised. Imagine being seen for who you are first before you are seen as a gender construct.
What can we expect, as an audience, to take away from your performance?
Strength, integrity and honesty. Anything else is not for me to say but personal to that audience member. That’s the exciting thing about live performance.
Who is your main target audience and why?
If you could give an empowering statement to women, what would it be?
There is still a way to go. Let’s all get there with an understanding that both men and women are suffering as a result of the Patriarchy. Men have been silenced by masculinity and women have been silenced by men. We are fortunate enough in this country to have a choice. We can choose to work together and support each other in deconstructing gender norms that prevent us from being who we are.
How can we get in touch?
You can check out any of the websites or social media links below:
Art Within The Cracks: https://artwithinthecracks.org/
Brave Bold Drama: http://www.bravebolddrama.co.uk/
2 O’Clock Beauty Queens: https://www.instagram.com/2oclockbeautyqueens/