More headliners have been announced today for our 2022 London Festival, which returns to the Southbank Centre from 11-13 March, supported by Bloomberg, to mark International Women’s Day. Led by WOW Founder Jude Kelly, WOW Festivals are the world’s biggest, most comprehensive festivals celebrating women, girls and non-binary people. And this March we will back in person after some of the toughest years in recent history for gender equality.
The line-up revealed today includes unmissable events with Black Lives Matter co-founder and former Executive Director, and TIME 100 most influential person Patrisse Cullors; author and broadcaster Elizabeth Dayof the podcast phenomenon How to Fail; bestselling writers Lisa Taddeo and Pandora Sykes;Lucy Kirkwood’s searing, timely play Maryland, and a riotous festival finisher from Figs in Wigs - Little Wimmin - a brilliantly satirical adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic.
They join previously announced bestselling author Marian Keyes, poet Warsan Shire, comedian Deborah Frances-White, activist Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, as well as The Urgent Conversation, a panel on the most pressing gender equality issues - with the timely programme and panel to be confirmed just ahead of the weekend.
About the new events
On 11 March WOW will present Patrisse Cullors: An Abolitionist Journey, a very special evening where the New York Times Best-Selling author, Artist, Educator and Abolitionist will launch her groundbreaking second book, An Abolitionist’s Handbook: 12 Steps to Changing Yourself and the World.
The co-founder and former Executive Director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has worked extensively supporting Black-led movements in the US, UK and Canada and now at this exclusive WOW event, Patrisse will discuss how everyday activists can get the tools to effectively fight for a world where communities are treated with dignity, care and respect. Leading with love, fierce compassion and precision, she reimagines what reparations look like for Black lives and offers an innovative approach on how to be a modern-day abolitionist. There will be over 100 tickets available at £10 for this special event.
Also on Friday evening, Lisa Taddeo, New York Times bestselling author of Three Women, will be in conversation with Pandora Sykes, podcaster, journalist and author of Sunday Times bestseller How Do We Know We're Doing It Right?. The US and UK literary legends come together to discuss what happens when we are pushed to the brink. Lisa’s latest book, Animal explores the impact of a male-dominated society and what the legacy of its impact might be. In this intimate chat in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the writers will explore the animal that dwells within us all, threatening to emerge when pushed to the edges of endurance.
On Sunday afternoon Elizabeth Day, presenter of the chart-topping podcast How to Fail and author of the Sunday Times bestseller How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong, will be joined by a line-up of very special guests on the Royal Festival Hall stage for Sunday Afternoon at WOW with Elizabeth Day. They’ll share their highs and lows, loves, challenges and failures in this WOW special.
WOW Festival will also present performances as part of the 2022 line-up. On Sunday afternoon WOW will present a script-in-hand performance of Lucy Kirkwood’s Maryland, in partnership with the Royal Court Theatre, where it premiered to sold out audiences in autumn 2021.
Kirkwood’s play is an urgent, extraordinary, communal rallying cry in response to the normalising of horrific actions being committed against all women and victims of gendered violence. This reprised performance is co-directed by Milli Bhatia, Vicky Featherstone and Lucy Morrison, and will be followed by a panel discussion with members of the creative team.
On Sunday evening the glorious, uproarious Figs in Wigs will reprise their critically acclaimed feminist ‘adaptation’ of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women - Little Wimmin. Wild, absurdit and satirical, Little Wimmin dismantles the traditional canon, poking fun at the traditions of theatre and ‘the classics’. The cast of five women transform the novel into a darkly funny and thought-provoking show with their distinctive punky perspective.
WOW London 2022 will see the return of many other WOW favourites including the free-to-explore WOW Marketplace and the sold-out Under 10’s Feminist Corners, which invite children to explore equality and discover what life is like for their peers across the world.
We'll be announcing more details about the day programme, final events and a digital programme accessible worldwide in the coming weeks, so watch this space!