Womxn Up Podcast: telling the stories of Northeast women during the pandemic

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It’s been the most difficult and bizarre 18 months in living memory for most people hasn’t it? A time that we undoubtedly need to document and learn from. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Workie Ticket Theatre Company on a project reflecting on the many ways the pandemic has impacted women from the Northeast. 

Womxn Up is a fabulous project which has involved them making a short film, a collection of ‘pandemic portraits’ and a series of podcasts and audio plays. The whole thing has been devised, created, written and produced by women from the northeast, and aims to give a voice to all women from the region. I mean let’s be honest… we all have a story to tell about that part of recent history!

Workie Ticket Theatre Company was founded by Jojo Kirtley in 2017. Having left an abusive relationship and found her own voice, Jojo passionately believes in giving women from all backgrounds a space to be heard. Their mission statement is to ‘be bold, push their luck and empower people”… and Jojo adds; ”to make lush theatre for lush audiences.”.

The idea of the podcast came about after a conversation between Jojo and myself when we were in the midst of homeschooling hell. We knew that the impacts of the pandemic were being felt most keenly by women, we knew that domestic violence was dramatically on the rise, we knew women were losing their jobs at a higher rate than their male counterparts. Jojo and I wanted to capture those stories, a snapshot of a unique time in of history. Workie Ticket were lucky enough to secure funding from Comic Relief for the film and from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the podcast. The hope is that the material will be put into archive in Tyne and Wear museums for future generations to learn from.

Over the past nine months we’ve interviewed a range of  incredible women for this project and as well as a fair amount of rage, frustration and grief; there was lots of laughter too. The interviews have then been used to create three audio response plays centering around the struggles women faced during the lockdowns and how life has changed for them.

The podcasts and audio plays are available now, on the Workie Ticket website, or on all major streaming platforms.

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