Ahead of International Women’s Day 2020 on Sunday 8 March, we are catching up with — and celebrating — the women behind The Actors Centre. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Each for Equal; promoting that an equal world is an enabled world. Next up, we chat to Marisol Spensieri, Front of House Officer, who talks about dismantling outdated stereotypes, her incredible grandmother, and Marina Abramović.
Tell us a little bit about your role at The Actors Centre.
I’m part of the Front of House team. Basically, I’m one of the first people you’ll see when you come into the building! We manage both Reception and Box office. Our job includes processing Membership applications, room bookings, enrolling members to workshops, welcoming everyone and signing them into the building, answering any queries.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A day to celebrate worldwide and remember the struggles that women have had to go through, the ones we are going through today, and the challenges to come. The complex fight for equality.
Who is a woman that you admire?
My grandmother. She’s always been an inspiration to me. She fled from Italy because of the Second World War. In her twenties, after losing her husband, she took over the family business to be able to support her two young kids. She worked as a blacksmith in a time where women would only be doing house duties. She’s been through countless struggles throughout her life, and yet you still see her with a smile on her face cooking pasta for over twenty people every month!
Tell us about your favourite female-led piece of work.
Marina Abramovic’s performance The Artist Is Present. I didn’t have the chance to experience it myself, but I think is one of the bravest things an artist has ever done. Simple, human and incredibly powerful.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women in the industry today?
There are many, but I think the perception of women’s beauty is a big one, especially in the arts industry. There are still too many barriers to break in terms of the pressure there is to look aesthetically ‘pretty’ on stage, screen or a red carpet.
What, in your opinion, is the most pressing issue facing women’s equality today?
Patriarchal traditions that are rooted in each society (in some more than others) and gender stereotypes. Not only the obvious ones, but also the subtle ones that we 'let pass' daily. This can lead to gender-based violence. As a Latin American, I know femicide is one of the biggest issues in our region, but I think it’s also a worldwide problem.
This article is part of a series ahead of International Women's Day, where will profile one staff member a day ahead of 8 March. Click here to explore more.
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