Preview :: Women of Letters

April 14th 2011

Flog: Dear Marieke,

Thinking about your upcoming show, Women of Letters, got me thinking about letters in general. Re-reading old letters can really tug on the heart strings! You’ve had the chance of hearing numerous letters read aloud through your show – what is it do you think that gives them such appeal?

Do you think letter writing is particularly valuable now that it is no longer a need, but a desire, or a gift? They're definitely a far cry from the Tweet. Have you received any letters that particularly stand out to you through Women of Letters? Any that really struck a chord, or stirred things up?

And while we’re on your luminous history of letters, perhaps you could tell me a bit about your upcoming show? There are some formidable women of letters appearing, each to correspond about their most treasured possession – Lally Katz, Holly Throsby, Libbi Gor, Leone Carmen and Mandy Sayer, phew!

Being a natural hoarder, I think I’d have tremendous difficulty identifying my most treasured possession, but letters would doubtless be high among them! Do you have a most treasured possession?

I’ll leave you now, hoping this letter has not been as Nietzsche characteristically felt them: “A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises. One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwards take a bath.”

If so, happy bathing!

Kate Britton


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Marieke: Dear Kate,

Thanks for writing, it's so lovely to engage in some correspondence!

The past year has been such a joy, watching letter after letter be written, read aloud, posted and celebrated at our various WoL shows. We have travelled up the coast from Melbourne to Brisbane, stopped in at Sydney and Newcastle, and made a special appearance at Splendour in the Grass. We have seen Helen Garner write a letter to her 'gazombies', Noni Hazlehurst pen a poisonous missive to her first boss, and Clare Bowditch sing the praises of her muse. We've witnessed letters to dead mothers, wigs, Aphrodite, and one particularly memorable piece to Beyonce's 'Halo' involving an acapella performance and accompanying handclaps.


At each event Michaela and I marvel over how open and honest our readers are, and I think it's due to the fact that they've penned their pieces in letter form prior to the event. They have had time to sit and ponder and pour their hearts onto the page. There truly is something about a letter that captures our unguarded moments, and demands raw honesty. And yes, receiving a letter in the mail in the current climate of texts and emails is even more precious.


When we started the show we wondered how audiences would feel about us asking them to write a letter in the interval – to anybody. We provide stamps and pens and aerogrammes, but were never certain whether others would join in. Now it is one of our favourite parts of the afternoon, as people seem so inspired by the openness and courage of the women onstage that they are driven to


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