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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Anniversary of suffragette Emily Davison; Why #Emilymatters

Actress/Writer Kate Willoughby

Today is the 101st anniversary of Emily Davison's most famous protest at the Epsom Derby. Actress Kate Willoughby wrote a play that has the relationship between Emily and her mother at its heart.

On Epsom Derby Day, 1913, Emily was gravely injured during her protest and her mother pointed out that whereas Emily was passionate about the suffragette cause, she also suffered for it. She wrote a letter to Emily about this that Kate discovered and this is what opened up the story for her:

"I cannot believe that you could have done such a dreadful act. Even for the Cause, which I know you have given up your whole heart & soul to & it has done so little in return for you."

The public perception of Emily was of an austere person but in reality, Kate told me, she was big-hearted, larger than life and had a great sense of humour.

Emily Davison campaigned for a serious cause but used inventive tactics and public correspondence with detractors.

Kate created #Emilymatters to highlight and support gender equality campaigns, such as No More Page 3, which use creativity as a means to communicate and has had great success.

She wrote a play called "To Freedom's Cause" which played at the House of Commons earlier this year. as part of a special event sponsored by Emily Thornberry MP, founder of the Emily Davison statue campaign. Kate starred in this five hander, which was directed by Brian Astbury.

Kate is a dab hand at social media and I'm learning a thing or two from her.  She uses social media to promote the missions that she is involved with and is focusing hard on gender equality. She gets high profile support from people like BBC broadcaster Jane Garvey and Helen Pankhurst (great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the militant suffragette movement).

Kate is building on a campaign she worked on for the May elections about voting and is now working on an expanded project for the 2015 general election.

For more info see http://www.katewilloughby.co.uk/

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