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Speak Woman Speak's 'Soledad and Betto' screening and audience Q&A

Updated: May 7, 2022

Part of the ongoing #BlackHistoryInterruptions! collaboration between Dr Javeria Shah at Learning and Skills Programme at CSSD and Dr Shona Hunter at CRED Leeds Beckett, this event presents Speak Woman Speak’s dramatic production of Soledad and Betto.

According to the now late but forever great María Lugones;

"the decolonial feminist’s task begins by her seeing the colonial difference, emphatically resisting her epistemological habit of erasing it. Seeing it, she sees the world anew, and then she requires herself to drop her enchantment with “woman,” the universal, and begins to learn about other resisters at the colonial difference." (2010:753).

Soledad and Betto:

"Dum spiro, m na-atu anya’/’while I breathe, I hope"

"Two women from different worlds, casting their net to connect with the past and navigate us on a journey from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. As they breathe in the essence of survival Soledad and Betto fight for their rights under oppressive regimes."

Leeds-based female artist collective, Speak Woman Speak is to bring the stories of two women from different worlds to life. Using the real facts from the stories of Soledad, a Republican Activist caught up in baby trafficking during the Spanish Civil War and Betto Douglas, a slave who lead a revolt in St Kitts in the 1820s, Soledad & Betto imagines a meeting of these two characters, across space and time, fighting for their rights under oppressive regimes from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. Performed mostly in Spanish, Soledad is set against the background of the Spanish Civil War and the baby trafficking that took place during Franco’s dictatorship and for some years after. These ‘los niños robados’ (‘stolen babies‘) were taken from their mothers and rehomed with other families, a drastic attempt to restrain revolutionary thoughts through the generations. Soledad is a Republican activist, charged with the need to fight for her rights and community. Following a love affair with Miguel, a fellow activist who is one of the Guerrilleros who fought against the Nationalist regime, she finds herself alone, pregnant and trapped in some of the most oppressive conditions Spanish history has seen. Betto is inspired by the true story of Betto Douglas, who is somewhat of a hidden national hero in St.Kitts. In the 1800's Caribbean it was unheard of that an enslaved female would be able to fight against slavery. Her tenacity defied the plantation structure and justice system and she was able to purchase her two sons freedom and fight for her own.

Images Courtesy of Speak Woman Speak

Together through this event we engage with this powerful and beautiful piece to continue the work of these women, María, Carmen, Leah, Soledad & Betto, in challenging the colonial difference. In doing so we are responding to Javeria’s #BlackHistoryInterruptions! call to:

‘dismantle our Eurocentric and colonial understandings of history’.

Please join us. We are needed one and all in our powerful and challenging recognition of historical difference in the present.

Event schedule

18:00-18:10 Welcome and digital housekeeping

18:10-19:00 Stream of Hub performance

19:00-19:15 Comfort and screen break

19:15-19:45 Carmen Martorell, Leah Francis (sws) & Shona Hunter in conversation

19:45-20:30 Audience questions and discussion

20:30 Close

The event includes a collective watching of Soledad and Betto which we hope attendees will be able to participate in together.

However, we understand that 2.5 hours is a lot of screen time.

Where attendees are only able to attend the later conversation and Q&A live, we can provide links to the full performance to be watched in advance of the event.

Please find the recording of the Q&A

This event is now over therefore registration is no longer open.

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