POW! Thanet needs you to join its opening ceremony choir

Birds and other Stories at the 2017 Pow! Thanet festival

The POW! Thanet festival is appealing for people to join a mass choir to perform at the opening of this year’s event.

The festival, which aims to celebrate and explore issues around feminism, women and girls, launches on March 7 and runs until March 11.

The choir will perform at the opening event and will be singing the POW! Thanet version of Milck’s, I Can’t Keep Quiet. Rehearsals are with Cliftonville Community Singers and take place at 7.45pm, tomorrow (January 9) at Cliftonville Community Centre, 23 St Paul’s Road, Margate.

POW! Thanet was founded by freelance arts manager, Christina Clark-McQuaid in November 2015, with the first festival taking place in March 2016.

It is held annually over a 4-5 day period to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.

The festival is a platform for events across Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs. Last year there were 58 events in 20 venues across 4 days including hip hop battles and the Birds performance by sound artist Emily Peasgood.

Photo Paul Hampartsoumian

This year the event has been awarded funding from Arts Council England (ACE) and from the Kent County Council members’ allowance.

This year the festival will also mark 100 years since women gained the right to vote. Thanet’s ties to the women’s movement go back to the late 1800s, when suffragette groups were founded in Margate and Ramsgate.

In Margate, the Pioneer Society was established by Mrs Wools (the chemist’s wife) and Mrs Bobby of Bobby’s Department Stores fame. The society’s aims were ‘to further the interests of women, instil a feeling of comradeship, help charities and enjoy intellectual and social amenities; among other things they built the Pioneer Hall in Cliftonville.

Mrs Bobby was not going to smash her own shop windows but some suffragettes did graffiti the walls in Ramsgate in chalk, to announce the visit of Emmeline Pankhurst in April 1910.

The picture above shows her daughter Christabel (centre, with flowers) outside the Theatre Royal, Margate in July of the same year. Women of property, and over the age of 30 gained the vote in 1918; but universal suffrage was only granted in 1928.

The Pioneer Society continued to meet until May 1999.

With thanks to Margate Museum for the information and image.

To find out more about POW!, get involved as an artist or support the festival click here

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