Womenspire18 Culture Award Winner – Kaite O’Reilly

6th February 2019

It was an incredible surprise and privilege to learn I had been nominated for the Culture section of the 2018 Womenspire Awards by an anonymous former student or collaborator. It was a huge moment to realise someone had been influenced by my work to the degree of writing an application and praising me to Chwarae Teg. This action of appreciation made me stop and reflect on all that I appreciate – the outstanding women (and men) and their actions which impact on my life. It is a glorious opportunity to reflect, appreciate, give praise and gratitude – something I’m sure we all could all do with more of in these fast and challenging days!

It was even more of a delight to win and take my place on the stage alongside so many remarkable women from across Wales and all strata of professional life. It was truly an evening of celebration and joy, a bright light that stayed with me over the following months. I already had several long-term international projects coming to completion in 2018: the radical one woman show richard iii redux, featuring Sara Beer, and my Unlimited/British Council/ACW commission And Suddenly I Disappear: the Singapore/UK ‘d’ Monologues, a dialogue about difference, diversity and disability from opposite sides of the world (Singapore/Southbank/UK tour). Winning the award meant I got more interest and coverage in the Welsh press, with a wonderful two page spread in the Western Mail by the terrific Jenny White. I’m grateful for this – it felt wonderful to have such support and interest from the country I live in!

Theatre commissions and productions are invariably set up years in advance of the actual performances, so I can’t say for sure how the award has impacted on my career – perhaps this is something that will become clear further into the future.

2019 brings a production of my play peeling by Cardiff-based Taking Flight Theatre Company with an all female, all Deaf and disabled cast, opening in Newport on March 8th, International Women’s Day! This will be the fourth production I have had opening on this auspicious day over the past four years. National and international touring will continue with a remount of the acclaimed richard iii redux, my play about Frida Kahlo, the 9 fridas, opening in Costa Rica, and I will be several months in Singapore making a new version of Orestes for the Esplanade Theatres in the Bay, November 2019. Other work includes a short play for children at the Unicorn Theatre, London (part of the Aesop’s Fables production in Summer 2019) and a new commission from Theatr Clwyd. I also have my first feature film in development, so the future is looking exciting (if a little crowded….).

Life is challenging and fast-moving, but Womenspire Awards gives us a chance to slow down, to acknowledge and bring a light to those who inspire and influence us, from all aspects of life. I would recommend anyone who is thinking of nominating a woman not to hesitate – go ahead and do it. Being nominated is itself ‘winning’ – and I know from my own experience how profoundly effecting being nominated is. My nominee remained anonymous, but s/he has given me a wealth of joy and confidence – and the reassurance that the work we do is visible – it is noticed. Being appreciated for our efforts to change our society for the better is surely the greatest accolade any of us could ever hope for…? So please, Nominate! Nominate! Nominate!

Nominate here