Celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 with a glimpse into our past

8 Mar 2018

This international Women’s Day, we’ve delved into our archives to tell you more about just a few of the many remarkable women who have contributed to our 150-year-history as a performance venue

Suffragettes Emma Newsam, Eva Bourne and Mary Leigh

100 years ago, the Representation of the People Act 1918 gave women the vote for the first time. In 1908, women were banned from political meetings at Brighton Dome. But this didn’t stop the Suffragettes, in 1910 there were reports of two suffragettes (Eva Bourne and Mary Leigh) hiding inside our organ, about to cry out ‘Votes for Women’ through the pipes to disrupt Prime Minister Asquith’s speech, but were caught before they had the chance. In another meeting the same year, a Mrs. Emma Newsam successfully entered the Dome by dressing as a man and shouted out ‘What about justice for women Mr Asquith?’ before revealing her long hair and skirt.

Suffragette Argus Article

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and recording artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a true pioneer of mid-20th-century music and one of the founding mothers of rock'n'roll. She influenced early musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. We were lucky enough to welcome Sister Rosetta Tharpe to our stages in 1964.

Ella Fitzgerald

As fearless as she was gifted, Ella Fizgerald blazed a trail for women as one of the most powerful working females in show business, served as a symbol of pride and opportunity for African Americans, and proved herself as one of the most skilled and dexterous singers of all time. She performed at Brighton Dome with Count Basie in 1971 and with the Duke Ellington Orchestra 1967

Nina Simone

Legendary African-American jazz, blues and folk singer/musician, Nina Simone was also a prominent figure of the Civil Rights Movement, using music as her platform to amplify the voices of black people. Her songs addressed racial inequality in America, with the most explicitly political song ‘Mississippi Goddam’ (1964) responding to the murder of Medgar Evers and the Birmingham Church Bombing. She performed at Brighton Dome in 1990.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist, for which she has received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Best known for her series of autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences, she has been recognized both nationally and internationally for literary contributions. Angelou also carried out a wide variety of activities on stage and screen as writer, director, and producer, and in 1972 became the first African American woman to have her screen play turned into a film. She celebrated her 70th birthday at Brighton Festival in 1998.