#Votingmatters at the WEA North East Region Spring Conference, 2015


# V O T I N G M A T T E R S  A T   T H E
W E A   N O R T H   E A S T   S P R I N G   C O N F E R E N C E


WEA_SthTyneside_Emilymatters_at conf_20Mar15.

I spent a lovely day in Newcastle upon Tyne on Friday 20th March thanks to the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association).

It was a pleasure and a privilege to speak alongside Ann Walker (WEA Director for Education) and Dr Ian Roberts (WEA North East Region chair) at the WEA North East Regional Spring Conference.

The theme of my speech was Adult Education & Democracy, with a specific focus on #Votingmatters, which included a rehearsed reading of a short extract from my Emily Davison play, ‘To Freedom’s Cause‘.


WEA_VM_whatmatters sheets_20Mar15

Your voice matters: What matters to you at this election?
Some of the contributions from WEA NE Region delegates.


Although I was aware of the work of the WEA, preparing for the speech and the rehearsed reading gave me a greater understanding of the important role the WEA play in adult education.

Founded in 1903, the same year that Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters set up the WSPU (Women’s Social & Political Union), one of the WEA’s early members was Emily Davison.

Ann Walker explained in her speech what an important role Emily had played with other women members in modernising the Association in its earliest days:


WEA_A proud history of democracy_AnnWalker_pres_20Mar15.

I may have made a joke about the number of delegates I spoke with called Ann or Anne, but seriously, the WEA has an incredibly broad and inclusive reach, which enables them to transform lives and strengthen communities across the UK.


KW_was everyone called Anne_Ann_WEA_20Mar15.

Making a Difference – in the Heart of the Community



Working with actress Penny Lamport again was a joy. With only minimal rehearsal and 5 minutes of script, she made a compelling Margaret Davison (Emily’s mother).


This was a really moving and powerful piece and excellently performed.
– Tony Bulloch, on the 5 minute extract from my Emily Davison play ‘To Freedom’s Cause‘.



With Penny Lamport & Rachel Cochrane after the conference. Both are brilliant friends as well as talented North East creatives.


With just weeks to go before the UK’s general election, please encourage everyone you know who is eligible to vote to use their hard won democratic right.

At the last general election only 39% of young women aged 18-24 voted, whilst just 20% of BAME young women used their right to vote.

Our democratic system may be far from perfect, but if we silence ourselves by not voting, nothing will change, in fact it is likely to get a whole lot worse, especially for those who need our support & encouragement to become active citizens.


Deadline for voter registration is 20 April 2015.


Register to vote today: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote



And join the #Votingmatters debate as encourage young people & women, in particular, to vote.


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Plans are already in the pipeline for a much larger future project that will include ‘To Freedom’s Cause‘, which has extensive audience feedback to prove that young women, in particular, identify with much of Emily’s struggle and the importance of voting.

So please keep in touch!

Kate Willoughby
Actor & Writer of Emily Wilding Davison play To Freedom’s Cause




A rising tide carries all VOTES!


Comments (1)

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  1. Rachel says:

    Wonderful to see you that are working with such great organisations as WEA to take the message of equality and opportunity out to those who need to hear it. Well done Kate & #EmilyMatters & #VotingMatters

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