The study, led by researchers from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies and commissioned by Essex County Council, will use theatre techniques to explore attitudes towards women amongst different age groups.
It’s being run in collaboration with theatre company Running At Walls.
Theatre experts Dr Mary Mazzilli and Natasha Richards-Crisp are looking for people from across Essex to take part in a series of short workshops at which they will watch a performance and share ideas in response and discuss and explore their attitudes towards women through a series of activities.
Workshops will be held in Chelmsford and Colchester in March, with the first on 8 March. The researchers are looking for 80-100 people between 18 and 30 years old and over 50, including men, women and those identifying as non-binary.
Natasha Richards-Crisp, an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies and Director of Running At Walls, explained: “Social theatre is a really powerful vehicle for engaging people and critically reflect on the self, others and wider society.”
“The workshops will provide a comfortable and inclusive space in which volunteers will watch me perform a monologue. I will then respond, in character, to their questions and comments – they effectively become my character’s confidant, advisor and interrogator. This will help us understand their attitudes towards women and how those attitudes have changed over time.”
Dr Mazzilli, a Senior Lecturer and playwright, added: “These workshops offer a unique opportunity to explore what communities in Essex think about consent, sexual harassment and sexual violence and how they think the county can improve safety for women. They will inform the writing of a short play, to which all volunteers will be invited, and a report in which we will make recommendations we hope will influence policy change in the county.”
The project is part of a wider Essex County Council initiative to improve safety in the county which has also engaged researchers from Essex Business School who are conducting a survey about women’s experiences at night.
Email the researchers for more information or to take part.
Workshops will be held at:
Chelmsford Central Baptist Church on:
• Saturday 11 March, 10am-12pm (9.30am arrival for refreshments and general chats): 50+ Men
• Saturday 11 March, 2pm-4pm (1.30pm arrival for refreshments and general chats): 50+ Women
• Monday 13 March, 7pm-9pm (6.30pm arrival for refreshments and general chats): 18-30 Mixed Genders
University of Essex in Colchester on:
• Wednesday 8 March, 3.30pm-5.30pm (3pm arrival for refreshments and general chats): 18-30 Men
• Thursday 9 March, 3.30pm-5.30pm (3pm arrival for refreshments and general chats): 18-30 Women
• Wednesday 15 March, 3.30pm-5.30pm (3pm arrival for refreshments and general chats): 50+ Mixed Genders