The Festrogen comedy festival is an initiative by five international comedians--Jess Bauldry, Erin Crouch, Mari Volar, Anshita Koul and Sharon VS. Though they have all developed their own flavour of performance--some do stand-up and others theatrical comedy--the organisers came together with one idea in mind: give women, who are underrepresented in comedy, a space to explore the genre.
“We really wanted to create a space where first of all we (performers) all could feel very comfortable coming together and performing and bouncing ideas and having this community feeling,” Mari Volar, who is based in Cologne, Germany, tells Delano.
“The idea overall grew out of communal annoyance that there are so few women in comedy and that it is still very normal and actively normalised in some circuits that you have a show where you only have one woman on the line up or none. There are also very few openly queer people in comedy, and things like that,” Volar continues.
Luxembourg’s scene in particular lacks female representation, and so, Bauldry--“the mother of the festival” as Volar calls her--who has been working and living in the country since 2010, took matters in her own hands.
A weekend to explore humour in yourself and others
Working with the CID Fraen a Gender and local grassroot comedy club LOLL, the comedians offer workshops to women on Saturday and Sunday, to bring women together in an art form that is “very individual” and “to facilitate this space that we ourselves craved,” explains Volar. “Women make up 50% of the world but are marginalised in the comedy world,” she continues.
Workshops on stage presence, personal branding and comedy writing will be offered to female participants on Saturday and Sunday. The classes--which bring together around twenty people--aren’t just for those who want to try out comedy though, Volar explains.
Instead they are about “coming together and taking the time to look into our individual talents and how we can use them in our day to day lives to make things more exciting for ourselves.” Participants will also be able to try their skill out on stage in a private performance.
“My hope is that anyone who comes to the workshops leaves with a sense of accomplishment, that they accomplished whatever they set out for themselves,” Volar concludes.
Throughout the weekend, the organisers and experienced comedians will also perform. On Friday 6 May, Jess Bauldry and Sharon VS will take the stage to present their show “50 ways to leave your employer” at the “Le Croque Bedaine”.
On Saturday, all performers will be there, with US comedian Erin Crouch headlining the show. To conclude the weekend, Anshita Koul and Mari Volar will present the Clitoris Act at the Theatre de 10, promising a show “about women, body image and patriarchy”, as Volar describes it.
Of course, as Volar underlines, the stand-up shows are open to people of any gender.
For tickets to the workshops and shows, click here.
More details about the schedule can be found here.