WOW Rotherham Festival Returns with a Day of Empowering Events and Activities

WOW – Women of the World Festival is thrilled to announce its highly anticipated return to Rotherham for its third year. Taking place on Saturday 11th May, this year’s festival promises to be fully packed with an exciting programme of workshops, talks, performances, art exhibitions and exciting pop-ups. WOW will bring together a diverse community in a free celebratory event held across All Saint’s Square, Minster Gardens, various venues on High Street, and Imperial Buildings.

Attendees are invited to visit the Festival Hub at All Saints Square, where they’ll find a lively mix of market stalls, performances, and interactive workshops. Step aboard the WOW Girls Festival Bus for a creative exploration of gender equity through various activities, including play, reading, and digital experiences. Since October 2023, the WOW Bus has toured across the UK, engaging young people from diverse backgrounds in their own communities and will also be appearing at WOW Manchester from 24-26 May.

Engaging talks will cover multiple topics such as gender equity, neurodiversity, migration, recovery, work and skills, diversity, body positivity, and mental health and wellbeing. Hear from experts including Heidi Mavir, a trained Mental Health First Aider and CPD Accredited Trauma-Informed Professional, who draws upon her expertise to empower parents and carers in advocating for their neurodivergent children. Delve into a discussion with Lora Krasteva, Tchiyiwe Chihana, Debjani Chatterjee and Melinda Mo Martinez on the migrant experience in the UK, their roles in everyday activism, and its global impact. This year WOW Big Ideas will feature pressing conversations and ideas for change, including discussions on body positivity, speculative fiction, and empowering artwork celebrating women. This will be facilitated by Rumbi Tauro, an advocate for enhancing young people’s access to arts and culture.

Prepare to be captivated by a wide array of art, music and dance performances. Mimbre Acrobatic Theatre will premiere a new performance, Weight (Less), a blend of dance, theatre, and acrobatics celebrating joy and escapism. Participate in adventure playground building with Pif Paf Theatre, explore the living installation We Are Women, We Are Strong by Chol Theatre, and enjoy stunning performances by poets and musicians such as DJ Kavita, Oakley Starr, Lois, Sheffield Cancer Choir, Rhiannon Scutt and many other talented performers. Experience the energetic Middle Eastern dance dabke with YALLA! by Ashay Dance Collective, and witness a performance by the award-winning Thompson Dance Studios.

The programme is brimming with a range of free workshops that are open to all, such as making jewellery and textile badges, trying embroidery mending, getting festival-inspired temporary tattoos, and even exploring the creative world of zine making. Additionally, anyone can take part in yoga sessions catered to various skill levels, try aerial hoop, and join the contagious energy of Zumba. Don’t forget to pop along for the clothes swap with Thread Republic and get a mini colour consult with TLC Style and Colour to jazz up your wardrobe.

Explore the WOW Rotherham Visual Arts Exhibition at ROAR ArtSpace (11-31 May). ‘Unbound: A Celebration of Identity and Expression’, and the Art Trail across multiple venues in the town centre.   

See the WOWsers’ empowering art installation created by young women from the Bill Chafer Youth Centre in Bramley, which shines a light on the challenges girls facing when walking alone in public spaces. And join the Happy Human Project, a brilliant opportunity for young people up to age 11 to experience emotional wellbeing workshops through games, discussions, and positive mindset activities.

Jude Kelly CBE, CEO and Founder of The WOW Foundation said: “It’s so exciting to see WOW Rotherham return for a third year and once more bring the town centre alive with the stories of women and non-binary people from Rotherham and beyond. This year’s programme is rooted in its local community and global in outlook and brilliantly encapsulates the spirit of the WOW global movement.

Amy Lilley, Creative Programming and Events Manager at RMBC, said: “Whilst working on my very first WOW Rotherham Festival with lots of partners, two fantastic producers and the brilliant team at Flux, I’ve come across lots of inspiring independent businesses, artists, communities, and fabulous people Rotherham has in abundance!

“I think that’s what the festival is all about: discovering and exploring new things; discussing topics that are important to Rotherham and putting them all on the international WOW platform.

“We have curated a busy, vibrant and diverse programme I think everyone will love and learn from, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

Neath Champion-Shorr, WOW Creative Producer, added: “We are so excited to see the festival come to life for its third iteration and cannot wait to have the community see how they sculpted and shaped such a glorious event.”

The event is brought to you by Rotherham Council in partnership with Flux Rotherham, Rotherham Music and the WOW Foundation, and is being supported using public funding by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Co-produced with community groups and individuals across Rotherham, along with support from trainees aged 16 – 25 years as part of a skills development programme through Children’s Capital of Culture.

For more information about the WOW Rotherham Festival, please visit their website at

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