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. First up is Rebecca Durbin, Workshop Programme Manager who tells us about the women she admires and what advice she would give young women entering today's workforce.
Tell us a little bit about your role at The Actors Centre.
I’m new to The Actors Centre team, having started in the role of Workshop Programme Manager just a couple of weeks ago. I work (on a job-share) alongside Oliver Dawe and together we are responsible for programming the workshop an d masterclass offering for our members.
Who is a woman that you admire?
Daisy May Cooper. This Country is a work of genius. As was the bespoke Swindon FC dress she wore to the BAFTAs.
Tell us about your favourite female-led piece of work.
Impossible to narrow this down, but Eleanor Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels are an incredible depiction of female friendship in all its complexity and I was bereft when I finished them. Likewise, Scenes With Girls by the brilliant writer Miriam Battye, which was just on at the Royal Court, was a hilarious and knotty exploration of modern millennial womanhood. Sorry…that was two things.
Who is a woman from history that you admire?
Artemesia Gentileschi, the Italian Baroque painter now known as the ‘female Caravaggio’. She was an incredibly talented artist, in a time when women were not considered capable of artistry. She was raped by a friend of her an Artist friend of her father’s when she has 17. He was put on trial, and she was tortured to ascertain whether she was telling the truth. Her paintings reflect her experiences and are dark, dramatic and full of rage. A theatre company called Breach made a brilliant show called It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, based on her life and experiences and next month the National Gallery will display her work in London for the first time.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women in the industry today?
Equal pay! (Amongst so many other things…)
What piece of advice would you give to young women entering the workforce today?
Back yourself. Women have been socialised to underestimate themselves and their abilities, and this has caused a real confidence gap. In meetings with creatives, it’s always really interesting to see the difference in how men and women talk about themselves and their achievements. So yes, back yourself; be confident in your abilities and proud of your achievements!
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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