This year to celebrate international Women’s Day, She Society, were excited to be invited to a cocktail function at La Boite Theatre hosted by La Boite Board Deputy Chair, Vivienne Anthon and Executive Director, Zohar Spatz.This afternoon soirée welcomed guests to the theatre to hear from some inspirational women, network and mingle with women of all ages and stages and be entertained by some great Queensland female talent.
On a very wet afternoon an eclectic group of women braved the weather to enjoy champagne and delicious canapés in the comfortable surrounds of the theatre. The positive energy in the room was palpable.There were actors, writers, professors, singers, dancers, marketing and pr gurus, board members, booksellers and theatre lovers all enjoying each other’s company.
I had invited my fellow columnist – Nanny Babe along and we met early in the spacious and inviting foyer. We were welcomed by the friendly Jackie Maxwell, Development and Events Coordinator, who ensured we were soon enjoying a flute of champagne and nibbling on the inviting platters dotted around the room. Later delicious sushi and rice paper rolls with cabbage were served.
We loved meeting and chatting to powerhouse performer- Roxanne McDonald (Lysa and the Freeborn Dames) who has been acting for over 30 years. Conversation with other Brisbane women was stimulating ; sharing our thoughts on writing, books, creative industry courses, current affairs, the theatre and fashion.
The welcome to country set the tone for the afternoon with an emotion charged reading from Emily, before we heard spoken word readings from Aurora Liddle- Christie, who you might have seen recently as the Storyteller in the acclaimed play, The Neighbourhood. Aurora shares a proud Jamaican and Australian First Nation background and you could hear a pin drop as we focussed on her words about the importance of water and family.
Artist – In – Residence for 2020 is one of Australia’s most prolific First Nations authors, Anita Heiss. Anita is working with La Boite to develop one of her best loved stories, Tiddas, for the stage.The talented Anita shared a snippet of the five characters from her work with us and I was shocked to hear she had written about a mother from The Gap who has been so busy looking after her precious boys that she had lost her own identity! No, it’s not really me.
I have read Anita’s story Paris Dreaming, a contemporary romance with a lot of humour and intelligence set in my favourite city, so I’m now looking forward to reading Tiddas before I see the play.
Dr Heiss is a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, an author, poet, cultural activist and social commentator whose work is loved by readers of all ages. She writes non fiction titles alongside her fiction work, like Am I Black Enough For You. She has recently compiled personal essays from Indigenous Australians in her latest anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. Many women I spoke to said they have shared Anita’s work with their daughters and they all loved her contemporary stories as well as the non fiction works. Meeting Anita in person was a highlight of the day and confirmed that she was just as intelligent, funny and beautiful as I had anticipated from reading her work.
Finally we heard from singer, Naomi Price, Queensland’s “ First Lady of Song “ ( Courier Mail) who brought the house down with her rendition of Sara Barielles – Brave. I know that I wasn’t the only one who had goosebumps as she hit the high notes and as the song faded there was not a dry eye in the room. What a talent! I felt so privileged to have witnessed this amazing performance in such an intimate setting.
She also had us all coveting her Jacaranda pattern pant suit which was the perfect outfit for the performance and the day’s celebrations. Meeting Naomi was a delight! She radiated light and fun and was so humble. She laughed as she said she’d noticed all our tears.
As we left we knew we’d been a part of something very special and even our parting gift of a happy plant- The Chinese Lucky Bamboo which represented harmony and balance in one’s life, bringing good luck and prosperity, was a very special touch. Thank you to Kaytelyn Mitchell for this terrific invitation. It was truly a celebration of our diversity, individuality and strength as one. This International Women’s Day Event reminded us that an equal world is an enabled world and that gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).