Women from across Greater Manchester celebrated International Women's Day at Oldham Coliseum Theatre on Friday (March 6).
2020 was the fifth International Women’s Day event arranged in partnership with the theatre and Jigsaw Homes, giving residents from Oldham and Tameside backstage access to the borough's historic theatre for a day packed with activities and discussion.
The annual event also regularly features Henna painting throughout the day, creative workshops based on the themes of International Women’s Day and a sit-down lunch.
This year’s International Women’s Day event focused on the theme of self-belief. Activities included a Stage Combat workshop from Kaitlin Howard, an Academy of Performance Combat Senior Instructor and one of only three women on the Equity Register of Fight Directors, and a Make a Message workshop led by the Coliseum’s Head of Learning and Engagement, Carly Henderson.
Asmina Choudhry from Jigsaw Homes Group commented: "It’s been a fantastic event for International Women’s Day. Women from Oldham, Tameside and Stalybridge have enjoyed coming together and doing all kinds of activities. The main theme of the day was self-belief and the ladies have gotten really stuck in."
Alongside this, the global theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is #EachForEqual, helping to forge a gender equal world by celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility whilst challenging stereotypes, raising awareness against bias and calling out inequality.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Jigsaw Homes Group work in partnership to run regular projects with tenants which help to build confidence, employability and health and wellbeing.
They have helped over 100 young people return to work or education, created a theatre company for people with additional needs and reached hundreds of school children using theatre as a propeller for learning.
Tanuja Patel from Jigsaw Homes Group added: "We thank Oldham Coliseum for organising these kinds of events. It’s opened doors to many ladies in the Asian community, who have learnt to believe in themselves and stand together for women’s rights."
The partnership also encourages tenants to try something new whilst experiencing different cultures.
Past International Women’s Day events at the Coliseum have included talks from actresses Amy Gavin (who played local heroine Annie Kenney BBC’s The Suffragettes), Sue Devaney (best known for previous roles in Johnny Briggs and Dinnerladies, plus the Coliseum’s hit production of Our Gracie and the 2018 pantomime Cinderella), Julie Hesmondhalgh (best known for her former role as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street) and Isabel Ford (most recently seen in the Coliseum’s productions of Whisky Galore, Hard Times and Brassed Off).
Residents of Jigsaw Homes with Fight Director Kaitlin Howard