University of Calgary

The Vagina Monologues on campus

UToday HomeFebruary 1, 2013

By Betty Rice

The director, cast and crew of The Vagina Monologues take a break from rehearsals in advance of the Feb. 12 and 13 performances on campus. Photo by Riley BrandtThe director, cast and crew of The Vagina Monologues take a break from rehearsals in advance of the Feb. 12 and 13 performances on campus. Photo by Riley BrandtFifteen years ago, Eve Ensler stood on an Off-Broadway stage and performed The Vagina Monologues for the first time. The playwright and activist probably had no idea that her work, made up of passages read by women and those who identify as women celebrating their bodies and experiences, would provoke a movement that today has global reach and focuses attention on the fact that one in three women will be the victim of violence — simply because of their gender.

From that early performance by Ensler sprang V-Day, a movement to increase awareness of the fight to stop violence against women and girls around the world. Funds raised by V-Day activities are donated to charity organizations working to protect females in a range of situations.

Beyond support for these crucial organizations, the goal is to educate people everywhere about the realities of women around the world, one billion of whom will experience some form of violence in their lives.

For the first time in a decade, The Vagina Monologues will be performed on campus, with the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC ) and the university’s Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Leadership Education coordinating the cast and crew. Two performances will benefit the Discovery House, a Calgary agency assisting women and children fleeing domestic violence. All participants are University of Calgary faculty, staff, students, and community members.

“It is important to have this play on campus because violence against women is an issue that affects everyone,” says Nanako Furuyama, coordinator of the WRC.

“Being part of the production has been empowering for all involved, and we hope this play encourages dialogue that will lead to the end of violence against women.”

“This play is a collection of stories by women from different lives, all coming together to demand that they are listened to, respected, laughed and cried with,” says Director Shirley Steinberg, professor of Youth Studies in the Faculty of Education.

“There are stories of success, loss, birth, and of violence ― all those stories are who we are as women. It is a play we need to produce over and over, until gender equity exists, and gender violence is at an end.”

Tickets to the Feb. 12 and 13 performances of The Vagina Monologues in the Boris Roubakine Recital Hall can be purchased in advance through the Campus Ticket Centre or at the door.