WOW: Women of the World Festival

Things to do, Festivals
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 (Linda Nylind)
Linda Nylind
WOW Women of the World festival 2012 at Southbank Centre. Mirth Control with Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins and Jo Brand. Photo by Linda Nylind. 11/3/2012.

The 2017 edition of this festival will feature another stellar line-up championing everything that is great about women and girls. Through discussion, debate, performances and activism, female achievements are celebrated and the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world are explored.

This year the hot topic of discussion will be what Trump, Brexit and beyond mean for women. Famous female artists, writers and activists including Gillian Anderson, Angela Davis, Sandi Toksvig, Jennifer Nadel, Catherine Mayer, Margaret Hodge MP, Harriet Harman MP, and Bettany Hughes are uniting to call for solutions to modern societal challenges for women.

Day passes (£22) and three-day weekend passes (£50) that admit visitors to all daytime events are available alongside tickets for individual events, including some free ones. Visit the WOW mini-site to see the full programme of events and to book.


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I am actually writing this review during the intermission of the performance of Joni Mitchell's album ' Hejira ' - the gig itself is incredible! The centre has really gotten together a diversely talented group of singers, as well as a jazz collective who are in house AND a small orchestra, and I hear we are being treated to a women's refugee choir in the next half!

The vibe in this building right now is amazing. There are so many things going on as part of the festival that I know I will be back again in the next few days. And probably next year, for the 8th WOW festival, too. Come and check it out while it is still on. Your best bet is to check for sessions you want to attend online, or just show up for the doors open and stick around to see what you can get up to. I am sure you will be thoroughly entertained - and inspired.

Sarah G

I bought a 3 day pass as that seemed good value. In the run up i felt increasingly irritated as I couldn't understand what the programme was or how it all worked. I went along on Friday from 10.30 until about 2 and managed to see 1.5 sessions and tour the 'market'. As you arrive you get a written programme that makes it clearer what's on and where. I would have thought this would a) been available easily before hand b) been an app c) been clearer about locations and etiquette.

My friend and I nearly missed the session we were aiming for as very little is signposted clearly and we ended up in the third floor auditorium - rather than the 5th floor function room we thought we were in! All of which necessitated a sharpish and quite embarrassing exit. When we did find it there was then a huge queue an it was touch and go whether we could get it - even though as it turned out there were seats. It seemed a bit ridiculous to me to have left a pretty empty auditorium to then be squashed into a tiny room. I was really interested to hear the mayoral hustings and disappointed that only Sadiq Khan and the WEP candidate actually turned up. The others sending pretty poorly briefed subs. That said Sadiq Khan was excellent and engaging and confirmed my view that he's what we need for London!

Anyway I am going back tomorrow for a whole day so can form a better opinion. But at the moment - whilst I wanted to love it I feel a bit meh.