Post-Show Discussion Speakers
Tuesday 14th September
Chair: Fionnuala Kennedy
Gina Donnelly is a freelance writer, stage manager, and producer. Her writing credits include the award-winning 'Two Fingers Up' (SkelpieLimmer/Tinderbox Theatre), 'Tea' (Three's Theatre Company) and 'Maybe If We'd Stayed Angry', Her stage management credits include 'My Left Nut' by Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney, 'The Musician' by Conor Mitchell and The Belfast Ensemble and 'Heave' by Seón Simpson & Orla Graham. She recently produced the live streamed No Touching Theatre Festival alongside 3 other artists which showcase the work of 62 independent artists. She is an Arts Council of Northern Ireland SIAP recipient for 2020/21 to develop her skills as an independent creative producer.
Seon Simpson is the Belfast based theatre maker behind the award winning," Let us go then, you and I" and "Two Fingers Up". She is one half of creative partnership SkelpieLimmer. She has been selected for this year's Duets programme alongside Orla Graham to create HEAVE, a film/theatre hybrid exploring mental health, and self love which you can stream anywhere in the world this September, as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival.
Wednesday 15th September
Chair: Trish McTigh
Katrina McDonnell is the founder of Homeless Period Belfast and the #MenstruationMatters campaign. She also works full time for Rape Crisis Northern Ireland, an organisation which provides support to anyone who has experienced sexual violence in adulthood. Katrina works to eradicate period poverty through providing period packs to those in need and campaigning for free period products in all public toilets in N Ireland. In December 2020, she won the campaign for free period products in schools and better access to menstrual education. Leading period empowerment workshops, Katrina also aims to destigmitise menstruation and empowers young people to reclaim their period as something that is free from shame and embarrassment.
Wee Nuls (Nuala Convery) is a street artist and illustrator based in Belfast. Her work explores the narratives of beauty standards, feminism, and sexual expression. On International Women’s Day 2021 Wee Nuls painted a mural which raised awareness for the Menstruation Matters Campaign, ran by Homeless Period Belfast. Three days after it was painted, the piece was censored and painted black by an unknown man.
Wee Nuls has recently re-painted an edited version of the mural which calls for ‘FREE PERIOD PRODUCTS NOW’.
Thursday 16th September
'Fighting the Good Fight/Overcoming Brick Walls'
Chair: Jo Egan
Helen Crickard is the Co-ordinator at 'Reclaim The Agenda.'
Reclaim the Agenda was established in 2010 as a collective of women sector representatives, grassroots feminist activists, trade union activists and interested individuals who campaign on 6 key themes:
A life free from poverty
A life free from discrimination
To have healthcare services that meet our particular needs
A life free from domestic and sexual violence and abuse
To live in a World where women are equally represented as decision makers
To have access to good, affordable and flexible childcare provision
Reclaim the Agenda exists to promote women’s activism through education, campaigning and celebration; to create a fairer society.
Friday 17th September
'Reclaiming Your Voice'
Chair: Hilary McCollum
Hilary McCollum is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and drama. Her writing puts women’s lives and experiences centre stage, often focusing on female agency and women’s resistance to abuse and oppression. Funny Peculiar, her childhood memoir of sexual abuse against the backdrop of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, was published in 2008. Her first novel, Golddigger, spans the Great Famine and the California gold rush. It won the Golden Crown Literary Society prize for historical fiction in 2016. She is currently completing an AHRC funded PhD in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre. She has also written four plays, focusing on the lives and experiences of LGBT people. Hilary is chair of Women Aloud NI, which represents women writers in/from Northern Ireland.
Juanita Rea is a South African interdisciplinary artist activist de-stigmatising intrafamilial child sexual abuse, of which she is a survivor, and advocating for social justice. Juanita does this through visual art, poetry, music and film while facilitating trauma-informed wellbeing programmes for vulnerable people. She is now living in Belfast after living and working around the world as a school teacher and community arts and wellbeing programme facilitator.
Saturday 18th September - Matinee
Ecotherapy is where Michaela Mc Daids professional and personal life met, and everything made sense.
Professionally, Michaela was never drawn to clinical, caring or counselling settings. Believing in the power of education and self-determination, she spent 25 years designing and delivering mental health training programmes to the broadest cross section of society.
This career is underlined by lived experience of a bipolar diagnosis and ‘treatments’ of copious amounts of medication, counselling, psychotherapy and hospitalisation. She now understands her emotional distress, suicidal ideation and ‘psychosis’ as responses to significant trauma.
Before she knew it was a ‘discipline’, Michaela intuitively applied ecotherapy to her own ‘recovery’ by immersing herself in nature and letting intuition guide healing. Within 3 years she was entirely medication free and enjoying better mental and physical health than she had ever known.
She now works part time for Solas Donegal, a recovery programme based on walking, talking, and listening in green spaces and also has her own flourishing Ecotherapy practice where she provides education and experiences to facilitate closer connection to nature for better mental health.
Michaela maintains that she is not the therapist - nature is.