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waking the feminists

Here's the story behind this amazing photo of Meryl Streep supporting Irish women in theatre

Good woman, Meryl <3

12/11/2015  Pictured are authors and actors in th Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

EARLIER TODAY, THE inaugural Waking The Feminists meeting took place in the Abbey Theatre.

The meeting came just a fortnight after the Abbey Theatre announced its programmefor 2016 and sparked a conversation about equality (or lack thereof) in Irish theatre.

Since the announcement, Irish women have used the hashtag #WakingTheFeminists to call for equal representation in the theatre and won support from high-profile figures like Martha Plimpton and Debra Messing.

The most high-profile supporter of the cause, though?

That would be this actress called Meryl Streep. (She’s not very well-known, you probably haven’t heard of her.)

Yep, that’s Meryl Streep and The Good Wife’s Christine Baranski supporting #WakingTheFeminists. No big deal.

The photo was taken by Irish playwright Lisa Tierney-Keogh. So how did it call come about?

Tierney-Keogh, who is based in New York, tells that she was attending the opening night of Henry IV in St. Anne’s Warehouse Theatre, New York, when she spotted the actresses.

I was at the opening night of the Donmar Theatre’s all-women version of Henry IV at St. Ann’s Warehouse Theatre in New York last night. My friend Clare Dunne is in the cast. Meryl Streep was there with Christine Baranski. I am very involved in the #WakingTheFeminists (I’m a playwright).
Myself and my friend, actress Laoisa Sexton (also in the photo) approached Ms. Streep and Ms. Baranski and told them what was going on. We had a great conversation and they very happily took the photo with us. We had to scrawl #WakingTheFeminists on a cocktail napkin.

And amazingly, this wasn’t Meryl’s first time hearing about it.

Meryl and Christine told us that they had already heard about the movement through another actress, Cherry Jones, who had done a photo with the #WakingTheFeminists on it. I was blown away by that. She knew what we were talking about.

So, was Lisa nervous or apprehensive about approaching the actresses? (It is, after all, Meryl Bloody Streep.)

Obviously, approaching Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski is not exactly the easiest thing the world but the common connection is that we are all women artists and we knew they would respond. They were both extremely kind and generous.

The image was shared widely ahead of today’s meeting. (Obvs.)


We always knew we liked you, Meryl.

More: Fury, apologies and calls for respect as feminists shake the Irish theatre world >

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