Female followers, we need YOU* to record important conversations in your life that pass the Bechdel Test (women talking about something that’s not a man**).
How to record a conversation
Take some time to sit down and talk face-to-face with another woman who’s important to you (could be a family member, friend, frenemy, partner, inspiration, teacher, a whole group of people – whoever springs to mind and is willing).
Here’s a helpful guide to recording yourself from the BBC’s Listening Project (we don’t need you to introduce yourself, and we’re not broadcasting your conversations so you don’t need to worry so much about background noise). The clips from this programme are really useful if you’re looking for inspiration!
What to talk about
The topic is your choice – it could be about what you had for dinner, you could give them a piece of news, reflect on a shared memory or make plans for the future. If possible, try and imagine you’re not being recorded – don’t censor yourself or stop and start again.
Recordings can be as long or short as you like (we’ve heard some lasting 2 minutes, some 2 hours).
We want to represent the women that we recognise from real-life but are often absent or sidelined on stage. We’re looking for ideas, characters and relationships that will inspire dramatists who want to to represent a diverse range of women and experiences.
The most inspiring recordings we’ve received so far include:
- Inter-cultural conversations (between women from different countries, or of different religions, races, ethnicities or class backgrounds to each other).
- Inter-generational conversations (between older and younger women with different perspectives).
- Personal experiences (sharing confessions, secrets, unique anecdotes).
- Talking about “Big Topics” (we’ve heard some great opinions on philosophy, politics, sexuality, parenthood and mental health).
- Making each other laugh (these are the best because they make the writers, actors and audience laugh too).
We want to hear and represent more:
- LGBTQ+ voices and experiences.
- Women who work in business, technology, construction, sport and science.
- Immigrant/migrant and refugee women.
- Disabled women/women with disabilities.
What will we do with your recordings?
We give the conversations to carefully selected writers, directors and companies who will use them to make theatre.
The first scratch night of work generated by the project was staged at The Old Library in London on Jan 21-22nd, and included short plays by writers Melissa Dunne and Bridget Minamore, inspired by conversations emailed to us in November-December 2016
The next four plays inspired by real conversations can be seen at The Bunker on July 22nd and 23rd. Book here.
You decide the level of privacy
- Let us know whether or not you would like to be credited.
- Whether you are happy for us to play the recording to an audience as part of the piece.
- If you prefer to remain as anonymous as possible, your conversation will be transcribed by one of us (they’ll be sworn to secrecy).
- We change the names of any people and places mentioned to protect identities at your request.
- Please let us know of any information not evident in the recording that may be helpful for listeners to know for context or understanding eg. “I’m talking to my wife/grandma/estranged sister”, “We mention Barney who is a dog not a man”, “When we talk about race, it’s from a black British perspective”, etc.
- NB Your words may be staged verbatim (performed by actors word-for-word as recorded) OR provide inspiration for a brand new story and characters. They may be given a new context that doesn’t relate to the original relationship or topic – so while our writers will treat your contribution with respect for its real-life origin, they may interpret it however they wish and re-write your situation as something completely imaginary, with casting that may not reflect the original speakers.
*ALL of you. We consider “passing the Bechdel test” in real life as something to be decided by the speakers themselves. This includes anyone who wants to be represented. We welcome trans women, non-binary or gender-non-conforming people who identify at any time or to any degree as being female or a woman. If you’re a trans man, gender-neutral, or don’t identify as a woman, but have experienced being assumed ‘female’ by society, and want your voice to be included in the project, you are welcome to contribute a conversation (but be aware that publicity material around the project does talk about centring women’s voices. If you’re definitely NOT a woman but want to be involved, get in touch, and we’ll talk about how that can work without excluding or mis-gendering anyone). Conversations between 2 women and a man, or 2 women and 2 men etc are fine, as long as the conversation is equally balanced or led by women.
**Don’t worry about this too much – a mention of a guy here and there is fine, as long as a man isn’t the main topic of conversation, the point is to hear women’s voices talking about a wide variety of subjects!
***Make sure whoever you’re talking to is clear about what the recording will be used for – it’s your responsibility to properly inform them of the project – you might want to show them this page.