V-Day movement hits Concordia

The Concordia V-Day Campaign is in full-swing, climaxing with three presentations of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” February 6 to 8.

“The production is going to be great, and it’s going to be very different than any Vagina Monologues before. I’ll just leave it at that,” said organizer and second-year women’s studies major Nancy Edgar. “There has been great participation. The V-Day Campaign is very big. It’s not just the performance.”

For the second year in a row, a V-Day Concordia artistic team and organizing committee are giving a benefit production of the Obie-Award winning play “The Vagina Monologues.”

The production is part of the larger global movement V-Day, which invites members of colleges and universities from around the world to put on the Monologues in hopes of raising awareness and stopping violence against women and girls.

In 2002, volunteer activists presented more than 800 V-Day benefit events internationally, and since its inception the movement has raised over $14 million, half of which was earned last year.

“In September we made two teams. The organizing team took care of everything with V-Day, like fundraisers, bake sales, everything but on stage,” said Edgar. “The artistic team is made up of the stage manager, designers, and all the actors. Each team was meeting every week, but lately it’s been every day, every moment.”

Beneficiaries of Concordia’s campaign include the South-Asian Women’s Community Centre, Women Who Go Out (date rape drug awareness), the Dragonroot Centre for Gender Advocacy (formerly the Concordia Women’s Centre) and The Native Women’s Shelter. All proceeds from V-Day events around the world are donated directly to local organizations in their communities that are working to stop violence.

Last year, “The Vagina Monologues” was presented at an Anglican Church in Nova Scotia, a Masai village in Kenya, a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, a stadium in Manila and a synagogue in Great Britain. There were sold out performances at Caesar’s Palace in South Africa, The National Theatre in Guatemala, The Royal Albert Hall in London, the Folies Bergeres in Paris and the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Edgar hopes the shows at the D.B Clarke Theatre will sell out.

“All the money is going to local organizations, but there were a lot of expenses. We’ve been very lucky with all of the donations we’ve received.”

Tickets are on a sliding scale, between $10 and $25. Those who attend are only asked to “pay what they can for a good cause.”

“The show last year was a big success, but [this year] it’s different from what they did,” Edgar said.

Students were asked to create a workshop and make up their own monologue. “It’s really great, and it’s going to make the performance really strong.”

The piece the students came up with looks at what the world would be like when the violence ends, exploring in a positive light how things in the world would change.

According to the movement’s website (www.vday.org), this year there will be over 2,000 V-Day events taking place at over 1,000 locations around the world.

“We wanted the Concordia community to know what V-Day is all about,” Edgar said.

“So many people are involved, and more than 100 have contacted me wanting to do something.”

The changes that have resulted from V-Day demonstrate the further involvement and impact from activists worldwide. Roma women in Macedonia vowed to reverse ancient and heinous marriage practices that abuse women. Girls were saved from female genital mutilation and allowed to be educated in Kenya. Harlem was declared vagina friendly by the State Senator. San Francisco was pronounced a Rape Free Zone by the city council.

What began as a play being performed in small city theatres has grown into a global movement that has touched the lives of countless women internationally. “Valentine” Day, “Victory” Day, and “Vagina” Day are what encompasses this event, and it’s all in the name of generating attention in ending violence against women.

“If we’re raising awareness, it’s a great start,” Edgar said.

Tickets for Concordia’s production of “The Vagina Monologues” can be purchased at the Dragonroot Centre, 2110 Mackay.

The show will be held Feb. 6, 7 & 8 at the D.B. Clarke Theatre in the Hall Building, 8 p.m.

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