Lysistrata: Sex Strike

21 November 2021

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Venue: FUNCTION ROOM upstairs at The Cock Tavern, 23 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1HB

Organiser: Siobhan Leddy/Esther McManus/Laura Snoad

Siobhan Leddy, Esther McManus and Laura Snoad are interested in participatory performance and facilitating relaxed and welcoming spaces to discuss political and cultural ideas. With backgrounds in publishing, journalism, education and design, they collaborate on projects and events which challenge the boundaries between audience and producer, and which can allow people to interact, discuss and learn in unconventional situations.

This participatory performance of Aristophanes’ most well-known play Lysistrata will give attendees the opportunity to participate in a group reading followed by a wider discussion of how sex and the body is used in political protest. Written in 411BC, Lysistrata is a comic play following the sexual politics of Ancient Greece. Led by the formidable Lysistrata, the women of Greece vow to hold a sex strike against their husbands and collectively storm the Acropolis, in the hope of bringing an end to the Peloponnesian War. This strategy, however, does not go as smoothly as first hoped, and the struggle for power between men and women intensifies. This anti-war tale of sex, gender, politics and militancy will provide an excellent jumping off point to talk about contemporary instances of sex strikes, naked protest and other forms of body-related activism. Examples could include the women of the Filipino town of Dado who brought the end of a period of violence with a week-long sex strike, to Votes4Nudes, a Canadian Instagram campaign that aims to motivate previously apathetic voters by rewarding poling station selfies with saucy snaps in their inbox. We encourage participants to bring their own examples to share for an open-minded, supportive and fun discussion of the body, feminism, humour, and the common ground – and differences – between Lysistrata’s Greece and today.