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The Filibuster

The Filibuster was a 12 hour durational performance piece featuring a series of female identifying performers speaking spontaneously, tackling the baggage around public discourse and women.

The Filibuster imageThe Filibuster was a durational piece, taking place over 12 hours, into which audience members could come and go. 12 women consecutively spent one hour each speaking at a podium in an improvised stream of consciousness, responding to a question that was provided on the day so they were unable to prepare in any way. The performance asked what it means for women to be given a platform, what is said by women who are permitted and required to speak and be listened to, and what happens when women lose their filters and the ability to self-censor or think before they speak. The lack of women in public or senior leadership roles is a topical issue and The Filibuster explored the ways in which this is bound up with gender and the act of public articulation. How do issues of preparedness, authority and forum play into these questions and how do they register differently in relation to age, cultural and socio-economic background?



Project events                                                                

The Filibuster 12 hour performance - Saturday 2 September 2017, Great Arch Hall, South Wing, Somerset House                                       

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Project team                                                                                

Deborah Pearson is a live artist and playwright.  Her work has toured to four continents and fifteen countries, and has been translated into five languages. Deborah recently published The Future Show with Oberon books.  She is the founding co-director of UK artist collective Forest Fringe. Deborah has won awards for both her solo practice and her work with Forest Fringe, including three herald angels, a Scotsman Fringe First, a Peter Brooke Empty Space Award and the Total Theatre Award for Significant Contribution. She has a PhD in narrative in contemporary performance from Royal Holloway, where she was a Reid Scholar. Her research was supervised by Dan Rebellato.  

Anna Snaith is the Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature at King's College London. She has published on Virginia Woolf, modernism and empire and is currently working on a project on modernism and noise. She has edited Woolf's The Years (CUP, 2012) and A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas (Oxford World Classics, 2015). Snaith’s research on modernist women writers explores the early twentieth century explosion of women writers into the public sphere – emerging from behind pseudonyms or unpublished forms of writing.

The Filibuster was a collaboration between King’s College London’s Department of English and artist Deborah Pearson, supported by the university's Culture team in partnership with Somerset House Studios.

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