This document contains approximately 1000 words and will take you anywhere between 3 to 6 minutes to read through. For immediate access to a summary of the project & how to get involved please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
Hi. Welcome. Before I tell you more about this project, I ask that you work with me through the following story, imagine:
It’s a beautiful day. You wake up in the morning feeling terrific. You go to school, or go to work, or run errands, or take a walk at the park. A podcast you enjoy just comes out with a new episode. You listen to it. Everything feels wonderful until you start to notice that something is off:
Your vagina is missing!
You hurry to the Department of Lost Genitals. It’s late in the afternoon and the office is about to close. It’s your first time here and you feel a little lost. There is a friendly looking lady at the reception desk. She asks you if there’s anything she can help with. You smile nervously and apologetically. You are not sure how to begin, picking words in your brain.
Eventually, you struggle to tell her that your “lady part” is missing.
“Your vagina, you meant.” The receptionist reassures you. “Don’t you worry my dear! Things like this happen all the time. We get all the lost genitals sent here, everyday.” She points at the storage room, and tells you that all you need to do is to walk through the door and, browse over shelves of genitals and pick out yours. But don’t take too long as the office is about to close.
You walk into the room and see an endless amount of shelves on which display an overwhelming number of genitals. Vaginas and penises. You squint your eyes. You try to recall the shape of your vagina –
What is on your mind?
Do you feel quite confident?
Request for Participation
University of Washington, Seattle Opera Creation Lab
November 5th, 2022 and rolling
Seeking community members to participate in the creation and performance of a hybrid live performance: Vagina Chorus. Workshop activities will take place beginning this fall in-person in Seattle and virtually for remote collaborators, and may include writing, drawing, voice and movement workshops. See below for more information.
If your vagina could sing, what would it sound like?
If they could speak, what would they want to say?
If they could go on a vacation, where would they travel? What would they do? What adventures would they encounter?
Would you like to join them?
How would you describe your relationship with your own vagina? Vagina Chorus is looking for community members with vaginas to participate in Vagina Chorus as co-creators and performers. No prior experience with performance is required.
Women feel pain and pleasure. They menstruate, have sex, and have babies. They are used to touching blood and other bodily fluids. They deal with infection, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and prolapse -- symptoms normally kept in secret. Vagina Chorus is a place for these secrets and lived experiences to take center stage. We want people with vaginas to reclaim the way their stories are told.
*Here we define the word “women” broadly and welcome expression of interests from all who identify with this identity and theme.
How to apply
Please fill out this google form by January 31st, 2023. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you can expect
⁍. There is no cost to attend these workshops.
⁍. You are not obligated to participate in the final performances.
⁍. You will be meeting other people with vaginas who are drawn to this call. We will together work on reframing our relationships with our vagina, our body, our genders and identities.
⁍. With the options of using lenses of feminist thinking, we will examine the space we currently occupy within a complex web of power dynamics, and where we’d like to occupy instead.
⁍. Workshop activities may include writing, discussion, game and play, theater, vocalization, pelvic floor physical therapy, and more.
⁍. Materials (written words, concepts, recordings, etc) gathered through the workshops will be used to guide the formation of the final performance(s).
⁍. We will solidify the form of the final performance(s) collectively as we proceed in this journey together. The only known part is that a short opera (which I will create as part of 2022-23 Seattle Opera Creation Lab) will be one component on stage.
⁍. This is a long term project and you do not have to feel rushed.
You would be a great fit if you
⁍. Have a vagina or identify with this identity strongly and reside in the greater Seattle area
⁍. Are curious to investigate / reflect on your own relationship with your vagina and have an opinion about them generally. You are willing to share your thoughts with others.
⁍. Are curious about kegel exercise and are open to learn about pelvic health
⁍. Are aged between 18 - 80;
⁍. Are fully vaccinated and willing to follow all Covid safety mandates
⁍. Have access to a stable internet connection and a smartphone
We are specifically interested in working with people who have the following experiences
⁍. Urinary Incontinence
⁍. Pelvic Floor Therapy (patient or provider)
About The Creator
ALTHEA RAO creates social engagement models to facilitate playful conversations that unpack normalized systemic power imbalance. She draws influence from media studies, design justice and community organizing. Her project Vagina Chorus, a bio-responsive, socially-engaged multimedia performance provoking conversations around gender justice and healthcare accessibilities, is a recipient of the 2020 MAP Fund and premiered at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, US.
Rao has lived and worked in China, Japan and the US, and received training in journalism, media arts and filmmaking. She participated in fellowships and residencies at MIT Feminist Future(s) Hackathon, Theater MITU, More Art, Artspace New Haven, Flaherty Film Seminar, NYFA, Signal Culture, and Halcyon Arts Lab. In her spare time, Rao writes for Chinese readers about gender justice, as well as translating manifestos, film scripts and poetry between English and Chinese.
Rao is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree at DXARTS in University of Washington.