Ruth’s March of Women

Lavinia Derwent
Lavinia Derwent

As I walked into the Library that deep dark winter Tuesday evening, I was not thinking about getting involved with the March of Women, but Adele appeared and asked if I would like to be involved. With a look of fear and uncertainty, I went over to the other ladies who were already there.

The majority of women had already chosen their heroines. However, there were a dozen women’s names left. As I looked through the list and cards with information about each woman, I debated my choices. With being an ordinary wee Glasgow woman myself, I didnae suit being Mary Queen of Scots or La Passionaria – (nae dark hair or classic exotic looks wi’ me). I decided on writer Lavinia Derwent – Learned Woman (aka Elizabeth Dobbs, MBE. Born 1909 and Passed away 1989). I thought I might get away with being a colourful, artistic woman all in white!

So the next day I started to look into this mysterious woman, as I was previously unaware of her.  Lavinia was from an isolated farm, in the Cheviot hills, seven miles from Jedburgh. As a child, she began making up stories about animals at an early age, which developed into her being a famous author. Her most famous creation was Tammy Troot and she was also a broadcaster and presenter of Teatime Tales with Molly Weir.

Once I had chosen my woman from history, my subsequent Tuesday evenings were full of new wonderful discoveries. We had to make our sashes, learning how to put our names on them by cutting out the letters and ironing them on. It was the alternative Great Women’s Library Sewing Bee (not the one on BBC2 – this was much better) and, with a buzz of chatter and excitement, they were made by everyone.

Rehearsals were already going on, so with a script given to me (who would have thought, I would be given a script). I joined the rehearsals.

All these new things to learn: where to walk on, stand, learning my lines, how to speak into a microphone, but, with curiosity and excitement, I happily learned.

The big day arrived: 7th March 2015. We all arrived – nervous, eager and excited. The Library was jam packed with performers, then audience and the show began. The place was buzzing with all these amazing women from different cultures, experiences and expertise.  We were joined together, united and, with this, we performed The Pageant of Great Women and then marched out of the Library onto the streets of Bridgeton into a frenzy of media attention. (I can only say the most famous part of me is my feet, they are the only things that were photographed a million times). We marched around the area to Glasgow Green. Who would have thought that such a cultural performance would be available and taking place in the East End of Glasgow, but it did, and here is hoping that the future will bring more unique, creative and positive events in the area.

Learned Women marching to Glasgow Green
Learned Women marching to Glasgow Green

 by Ruth

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