Ahead of Herstory, take a peek at our programme to see what's in store! Below is the full programme of the festivities happening in Exeter Library on Wednesday 30 March. All events will take place in person, with Rougemont Room and Library Stage programming available to stream via our online ticket.

Book your free tickets to Herstory Exeter (onsite or online) here.

Evening Events

Library Stage

Herstory Exeter Poets
Hear from poets Liv Torc, Shagufta K Iqbal and Fiona Benson - our commissioned artists for Herstory who have worked with communities across Exeter as well as being inspired by the British Library’s Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights exhibition. Liv explores parallels between the lives of women during COVID and those living and fighting through the two World Wars; Shagufta connects the story of 1910 Chainmaker’s strike with the experiences of freelance artists and mothers today; and Fiona takes on taboos around female bodies. The poets are joined in discussion with Chair of Virago Press and Poet in the City's Lennie Goodings, and a curator from the British Library who will also give an overview of the Unfinished Business exhibition.
19:10, on-site and via online stream

Award-winning writer Shagufta K Iqbal uses creative writing and the inspiring story of the Cradley Heath Chain Makers to examine community and collaborative working within Exeter. This exploration of the strength and collective-spirit that can be found across unions and the creative scene combines poetry with recipes and postcards - finding ways to re-connect with those we have been separated from during the pandemic.
19:50, on-site and via online stream 

Fiona Benson 
For this special poetry performance with live soundscapes, Fiona Benson reads new poems commissioned for Herstory. From a powerful, raw account of a pregnant woman forced to give up her baby for adoption in the 1960s, to a sequence that explores the history of gynaecological tools, each is inspired by women’s experiences of fertility, birth control and healthcare.
20:05, on-site and via online stream

A city of silence. 
A city of noise. 
Two faces of a mirror, 
78 years thick. 

How different are we from our grandmothers and great grandmothers? How many more unexploded bombs exist in the creases of history ready to change our rights as women forever? Liv Torc’s Bombshells explores the parallels between the shifting lives of women during COVID and those living and fighting through the First and Second World Wars - asking what can we learn from our female ancestors and what advice would they give us on how to cope with being a woman today.
20:30, on-site and via online stream

Beyond Face
A library, a place where we might expect to be quiet, to read words from a page, inside our heads, to not speak out loud. Well, not on the 30th March. Four women, after two days creation, arrive,with only their voices and their words - and they have a lot to say. You might hear our noise, but do you really hear us? Beyond Face is a theatre company whose mission is to be at the forefront of providing opportunities for artists of the Global Majority to live, work and thrive in the South West theatre sector.
21:00, on-site and via online stream

Booty Bass DJ Collective
We’re going out on a high with Bristol based femxle and non binary DJ collective Booty Bass playing music that celebrates different cultures from across the world mixed with much loved UK sounds - afrobeats, latin, bashment, UK Funky, 90s, garage, grime, baile funk, trap, tribal, global, and most importantly, bass. Founding member Ngaio will also be gracing the mic - a force to be reckoned with, this powerhouse of a performer can switch from a killer DJ set to heart-hitting spoken word, to delivering intricate jazz harmonies with a voice that could have stepped out of the 1940s.
21:15, on-site and via online stream

Ground Floor Café

Mapping the City Through Stories of Care: a talking, listening and making space
Hidden beneath the surface of city life are acts of care and sharing that often go unseen but enable women to survive and thrive. In this friendly space, hosted by Dreadnought South West with Maddy Costa, the people and places behind that care are celebrated through hand-crafted medals, displayed as part of a new map of Exeter. Join us in the daytime session to make your own medal, and come (back) in the evening to add more stories to this city that really cares about women.
(Daytime and evening sessions)
19:00, on-site 

Rougemont Room

Makaton Jukebox 
A relaxed live performance with Makaton-signing of infectious classic pop by women who work and live with non-verbal individuals with learning disabilities. Come meet the women in the choir, their children and friends. Hear their stories and learn some signs, presented by Documental Theatre. *Content warning*: ear worms guaranteed.
19:15, on-site and via online stream

Representation in the South West
Join award-winning EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) Consultant, International Speaker & Instagram Influencer, Maia Thomas, together with Ngaio and Poet in the City board member Lennie Goodings for a panel discussion exploring improving representation in the South West.
20:00, on-site

Poet in the City Producers present: Build Your Warrior
Poet in the City Producers present Build Your Warrior: a night of empowerment and learning on how to care for ourselves whilst fighting for our rights featuring poet and performer Vanessa Kisuule. Join us for an evening of poetry and performance celebrating feminists, the feminist movement and personal empowerment. Artists will be joining us to explore personal empowerment and how to care for ourselves in life and in activism. The first 50 audience members will receive a care package, curated for you by Poet in the City Producers.
21:15-22:15, on-site and via online stream

Day Events

Mothers on the Mic
An open mic event designed to amplify maternal voices and herstories, this relaxed day time show explores everything from mythology to domesticity and power. It promises the mother of all line ups with local mothers taking to the mic with songs, poetry and storytelling, all headlined by artist, mother and poet, Shagufta K Iqbal.
13:00 Rougemont Room, tickets available via Eventbrite here

Mapping the City Through Stories of Care
Hidden beneath the surface of city life are acts of care and sharing that often go unseen but enable women to survive and thrive. In this friendly space, hosted by Dreadnought South West with Maddy Costa, the people and places behind that care will be celebrated through the making of hand-crafted medals. The medals will be displayed as part of a new map of Exeter: making visible a city that really cares about women. Join us for a cuppa, a chat and to make your own medal celebrating an act of care, given or received.
14:00 & 16:00 Ground Floor Teen Area, tickets available via Eventbrite here

Book your free tickets to Herstory Exeter here.