Speak Woman Speak
12 Louis Court ,
Telephone: 07833 513 169
Contact: Leah Francis
Speak Woman Speak is an all female Leeds based theatre company. They make devised work highlighting hidden stories about women from diverse backgrounds.
Speak Woman Speak is a theatre collaborative made up of two Leeds based female artists: Leah Francis and Carmen Martorell. We formed in February 2013 after meeting on a Creative Entrepreneur course led by CidaCo (Creative, Innovation and Entrepreneurship) in partnership with S.T.A.Y (Sustained Theatre Artists Yorkshire).
Our first performance was on the 5th April 2013 as part of Friday Firsts showcase at Yorkshire Dance. We devised a 10 minute piece which became the foundations of 'Loss'.
We were then approached to work with community group Women Asylum Seekers Together. We facilitated a series of drama workshops, to provide them with the skills to share their stories in a creative way.
From June-July 2013 we were awarded a month-long artists residency, Summer Sublets at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. We shared the developed work at the end of the residency to an invited audience which included industry professionals, potential programmers and public members. They provided us with critical feedback which helped to refine our process and find our style. Speak Woman Speak were then invited to be part of Furnace Festival in November 2013 at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
On the 16th of July 2014, we shared our work in progress piece called 'Soledad' at Wharf Chambers in Leeds. Since then 'Soledad' has been performed in London, Eastbourne and Manchester as part of Unite the Union's International Migrant Workers and International Women's Day 2015.
In March 2015 we were awarded a Grant for the Arts from the Arts Council England to Research and develop our next show Soledad & Betto. We took part in the Open Space residency for one week at Theatre in the Mill in Bradford. Here we started exploring ideas on how the two pieces could be brought together and refining some of the movement within both pieces. We showcased the first part of our development on the 18th April and invited feedback from the audience to help us inform the next part of our process. Next we were part of CARP a three week residency at Barnsley Civic Centre, which allowed us to devise and perform ‘Betto’ to a small invited audience. We held a question and answer session after this sharing which gave us valuable insight to the responses about the piece.
The final part of the process saw us rehearsing for a week at The Holbeck Underground Ballroom in Leeds and sharing the final show with a bigger audience on the 5th July. We had some really great responses and we had attracted a wide, varied audience to the work. Alongside this project we also ran a ten week programme of Drama workshops to Together Women’s Project based in Leeds. These women are at risk of social exclusion in one way or another so we wanted to work with them to share skills, build confidence and attract new audiences to Theatre.