Barking Back at the Cat-Callers: WOOF
Updated: Oct 14
At the beginning of the year, like many of us I am sure, I had a few different plans for projects that have since changed or been cancelled all together. With a new theatre company (teastain theatre) we are just a year old, having performed two new shows and launching into a new year with many ambitions for creating and collaborating.
One of these was a concept for a devised show: WOOF. Inspired by a particularly uneventful and frustrating experience of a few of us being cat-called one afternoon late last year. It was one moment similar to many, and in this instant unthreatening. We laughed about it on our way home.
But this sparked an urge to hear more stories, get talking to people who had experienced similar or completely different events, not every experience is so unthreatening. We strived to devise a performance which offered a question: why does this happen and how can we prevent it? How is this form of on street harassment so normalised in our everyday?
Little did any of us know what would happen this year, and so with these plans at a pause we asked: how can we still start these conversations safely? Digitally was our answer.
Jessy and I had discussed the possibility of creating this show as a verbatim piece (interviewing people and creating a performance based on the interviews), but how do we meet a variety of people online? So I spent some time considering and creating an online call out. Simply asking: do you have a story you would like to share about an experience with cat-calling / wolf whistling?
The more I thought about it, the more opportunities this offered. As a collective founded by four creatives, teastain theatre in a small way could start a big conversation. Perhaps creating online content to share thoughts and an essence of some of these stories, before we even begin to devise a live performance.
In a time where our only opportunity for exercise is a walk around the block, how many of us still experience this form of on street harassment even now? I wouldn't be surprised to hear of many.
Having just shared the call-out, already receiving thoughtful testimonies, I am hopeful that I can engage with lots of people and begin to develop a project and performance piece - in whichever form works in our ever changing situation.
So I guess I'll end with this, do you have a story? A memory, an event? It doesn't have to be particularly 'eventful' or 'traumatic', perhaps in the moment it was even funny.
We are receiving testimonies to hear from people who wish to share, at email@example.com
More information and a downloadable PDF call-out can be found: https://teastaintheatre.weebly.com/woof.html
teastain theatre collaboratively create and develop theatre that empowers and entertains: feminist, playful and inquisitive.
Founded in Yorkshire, past work includes Messy Eaters by Aisling Lally (SLAP Event), Wild Thyme and Heather (Great Yorkshire Fringe & Takeover Festival New Voices - York Theatre Royal) Out of Love by Elinor Cook (Create Engage React festival & Great Yorkshire Fringe.
Find out more about - WOOF at our website https://teastaintheatre.weebly.com/