Thursday 5th March to Sunday 8th March (International Women’s Day)
Featuring global No. 1 bestselling author Lesley Pearse

Lesley Pearce

One of the UK’s best-loved novelists who has sold over 10 million copies of her books to date

A Festival of Female Voices which opens on Thursday 5th March and culminating on International Women’s Day (8th March) will be the first festival of its kind in Devon, giving women throughout the County an opportunity to get involved in a creative festival which aims to help them find their own unique voice. The Festival will include a well-being day, poetry and dance workshops, inspirational talks and an open mic evening, and will culminate on International Women’s Day with three women sharing their personal stories about how they have overcome adversity. They will be joined by Lesley Pearse talking about her latest book, You’ll Never See Me Again, and why she is inspired to give women a voice through the strong heroines who overcome adversity and find courage in many of her best-selling novels. –This event will be a fundraising event in aid of North Devon Against Domestic Abuse.

See below for full programme and booking information

Thursday 5th March

Women’s Well-Being Day with a Healthy Lunch – with Lou Banfield

Lou Banfield

The Great Hall – Long Room - Oak Room and Undercroft -10am to 4pm
£25 (included lunch): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

Lou Banfield is the owner of LB Movement and has been teaching Pilates and Movement for over 30 years. She is also a Master Trainer and Educator for Biomechanics Education Ltd in Nottingham, training and assessing new teachers and sharing her knowledge. Lou will be drawing on her professional experience and her own personal experience as a woman to offer you a full day of movement and tips to help you manage your body for better health and movement. The day will include Pilates, Yoga and a pelvic floor workshop with the opportunity for Q & A.

Enjoy a healthy lunch and take time to chat to Lou and Sian the yoga teacher, and enjoy. Lou and Sian will be on-hand to answer any questions that may arise from the taster Sessions and talks.

Friday 6th March

Wild Wisdom, Women Writing their way Home - Creative writing workshop for women, with poet and ‘Word Witch’ Siobhan Mac Mahon

Siobhan McMahon

The Oak Room – 10am to 4pm
£20: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

An invitation to celebrate, liberate and remember the wild woman within through creative writing; giving voice to the wisdom of your body, the knowing in your bones, the singing in your veins….

In a warm, welcoming and lively workshop surprise and delight yourself by your ability to weave your own words into poems, discovering and sharing your authentic, unfettered voice with other women.

Siobhan has over twenty years of experience inspiring people to find and trust their own voice through writing and performance. Suitable for all levels of experience. Writing materials will be provided.

Saturday 7th March

Dare To Be You Workshop by Judith Kingdon, Founder of Star Shapers®

Judith Kingdon

(The Great Hall) – 9.30am to 1.30pm
£20: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

Everyday life may create stresses and strains and we can forget who we are.

At the Dare To Be You workshop, in a manner of speaking, we take the lid gently off the box and shine a torch on who you are now and who you aspire to be through in a series of gentle activities.

With encouragement and support from the Star Shapers® Founder, Judith Kingdon, you will discover fresh insights, develop new ideas and set wheels in motion to dare to become yourself.
You will develop courage, confidence and purpose as you make discoveries and create new intentions for being true to yourself.

To conclude, each person will leave with a Dream-board toolkit to create a symbol of your commitment and investment in making changes. Its aim is to support you to focus on your goals and help assure your future success.

Judith Kingdon is a passionate pioneer for self-help. She has worked professionally in the personal development industry for over 30 years. She has equipped thousands of people to learn new skills, gain qualifications and realise their human potential through life-long learning. She would love you to join her workshop for creativity, confidence and community.

Finding Your Voice Workshop with Jackie Juno, multiple Slam Winning Poet

Jackie Juno

The Oak Room – 2pm to 4pm
£20: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

Workshop led by Jackie Juno focussing on Writing for performance and Performance skills.

The workshop will cover mic technique, stage presence, using characterisation or natural performance. Breathing techniques, body awareness and relaxation.

There will be time to write and to practice your newfound skills. Jackie will set writing exercises which are accessible to all whether novice or experienced writers. The workshop is fun, dynamic and inclusive, ensuring everyone gets their voice heard.

Everyone has a story, everyone’s life experience is unique. This workshop aims to bring out each individual voice, no matter how shy or fearful you are of being on stage.
Jackie’s warm friendly supportive approach brings out confidence you never knew you had!

Jackie is a multiple slam winning poet (including Glastonbury Festival) and has performed her poetry at two TEDx Talks. She is the former Grand Bard of Exeter and has also performed her poetry at festivals, cabarets, weddings, funerals, schools and on the street!

Fun Dance Workshop – with Rita Farmer

Rita Farmer

(The Great Hall)– 2.30pm to 4.30pm
£10: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

Come along and have a whirl. Rita has been teaching Dance for over forty years, and for herself and most women it is a life saver.

Everyday life can feel heavy going at times, but Dance is great medicine, lose yourself in movement.

There will be a fun warm-up, followed by a mixture of Latin, Jive, Rock’n roll and modern dance. This workshop is for a wide range of abilities and ages with the emphasis on fun and enjoyment.

The usual comments that come back from Rita’s classes are: Great Music!, Great Fun! And don’t I feel good!

Outspoken! - Open Mic evening with Jackie Juno

(The Great Hall) 7.30pm
£8: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

OUTSPOKEN! Open Mic evening. Hosted by multiple Poetry Slam champion Jackie Juno. Outspoken! provides a platform for all performers to share their work. Jackie creates a warm friendly space in which everyone is welcome to read, whether first timers or old hands. Expect tender, confessional, thought-provoking and hilarious material. Anything can happen!

Sunday 8th March - International Woman’s Day

Featuring Lesley Pearse, Global No.1 bestselling author and one of the UK’s best-loved novelists, who has sold over 10 million copies of her books to date

This is a Fundraising Event for North Devon Against Domestic Abuse

The impact of Domestic Abuse can feel like a poison that has infected every aspect of your life, health and well-being. Devon has a Domestic Abuse commissioned service who can be contacted on 0345 155 1074

Two Women share their personal stories of Courage to Inspire you

(The Great Hall) – 4pm to 6pm

Debra Simmons ~ Relationship Hell to Relationship Heaven.

Debra Simmons

Just over 12 years ago Debra found herself in the women's refuge in North Devon having escaped an abusive relationship with two of her children. She now runs her own business, alongside her niece Bec. Debra will share what she has learned about happy healthy relationships through insightful conversations.

Sarah Brown – Overcoming Trials and Adversity

Sara Brown

As a young person Sarah grew up on a farm, loving the outdoors and nature. Her passion was to ride and train horses, with the ambition to be a professional rider along-side a career as a lawyer. Sarah then experienced a serious of extreme and life changing health issues which brought these professions to an abrupt end. Despite these challenges Sarah was and continues to be a highly successful woman.

Sarah is now the managing director of Horwood Coombe Forest School, a community interest company based in North Devon, which she founded following her life changing health issues. This Forest School has helped work with a number of children at risk of exclusion, or who have been excluded and facing their own life challenges. Through her own life changing experiences she has inspired them to remain in Education as well as progress and develop their own lives.

(wine & cheese, incl. in ticket price)

An audience with International best-selling author, Lesley Pearse

(The Great Hall) 7pm

Lesley Pearse is one of the Top 5 bestselling female fiction authors in the UK. A true storyteller and master of gripping storylines that keep the reader hooked from beginning to end, Lesley introduces you to characters that are impossible not to care about or forget. There is no formula to her books or easily defined genre. Whether crime as in Till We Meet Again, historical adventure like Never Look Back, or the passionately emotive Trust Me, based on the true-life scandal of British child migrants sent to Australia in the post war period, she engages the reader completely.

Truth is often stranger than fiction, and Lesley’s own life is a rich source of material for her books; whether she is writing about the pain of first love, the unwanted abused child, adoption, rejection, fear, poverty and revenge, she knows about it first-hand. She’s a fighter, and with her long fought for success has come security. Lesley is inspired by stories of courage and adversity and often gives voice to women lost in history – Anne Tattersall will chat to Lesley about why this is, and her latest book, You’ll Never See Me Again.

You'll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse

Described as “thrilling and emotional”, “storytelling at its best” and “suspenseful”, You’ll Never See Me Again is a tale of one woman’s fight to escape her past and find her destiny. It will be published in paperback on 5th March 2020 by Michael Joseph. Signed copies will be available for purchase on the day.

Ticket for Lesley Pearse and guests Debra Simmons and Sarah Brown which includes wine and cheese at the interval £20: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-female-voices-tickets-91783365517

(all profits will go towards supporting the work of North Devon Against Domestic Abuse)