June 2016 and nations united in Geneva for a highly energized conference to bring power to empowered women. Speakers and influencers from all over the globe came together to discuss how we can bring greater gender equality into every fibre of our lives. As a passionate activist for women's rights and equality I was over-joyed at having been invited to attend - a chance to have the voice of Suzan's and my play Breaking The Silence heard on such an important matter and on such an illuminated global platform as the United Nations' stage.
Last year, 'Breaking The Silence' hit the New York stage with Girl Be Heard, and since then it's controversial and bold message of 'female equality' has made mammoth waves across all corners of the world. Like me, others connected with the messages in my play and felt that the creative vehicle of a stage production was a much more effective way to highlight the problems of gender equality; whilst also giving the freedom to express the solutions.
Following it's nomination for 'Best Play' at the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict, organised by Angelina Jolie and William Hague, 'Breaking The Silence' has given me a much more amplified voice. Now people listen and the message is finally getting through! So off the back of that, I was invited to this month's UN conference in Geneva on 'The Power of Empowered Women 2016'. But I know better than to simply 'speak' my thoughts, I've learnt that the power of song has a far greater impact on us; expressing a message and evoking feelings through melody and song is how I shared my feelings with this year's conference. I wanted to share that very important day with Female First readers....
I woke up with my four children in my bed giving me and my husband a morning kisses. Best wake up alarm ever!
Breakfast is rushed, but I make sure they get their vitamins, fresh juice, yoghurt, milk, bread and cereal. We are so blessed.... these last few years has given me a deeper purpose in life, an awareness and richness thanks to my play Breaking The Silence and it's amazing journey. Today is another big day for Breaking The Silence!
After the very normal school run, the day takes an unusual U-turn to the United Nations in Geneva, where I am greeted by the wonderful Caitlin who has set up Women@theTable.
I was to perform at the 600-seater Palais at the UN where I am to stage 4 monologues from the play with a college actor who flew in from London this morning, Femi Elufowoju Jr.
No rehearsal time, just a run through of his monologues and a quick sound check, but this is how it should be. Raw!
When I wrote the play with my co-writer, Suzan Craig, I had the Vagina Monologues in mind (to direct it with script in hand), if these statements are too rehearsed, you will loose the vulnerability and the truthiness of these confessions.
I kick-off the conference with my monologue about domestic violence, a monologue I wrote with a friend of mine in mind.... The lady sitting next to me found it harrowing.... The room was packed but you could hear a pin drop.
Femi brought to life his monologue about sexual violence in conflict after High Commissioner for Human Rights, Baroness Anelay the Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office speech.
The whole event was amazing, enlightening and hopeful so it was an enormous honour for me to finish the whole event with live song. Music is food for the soul and I felt I reached everyone even on a further level by singing the words of change and hope.
Being able to perform, write and sing with a burning passion for change for women has given me every reason to continue with a purpose and determination.
The empowering message that 'Breaking The Silence' brings to women will live forever.
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