Obituary: Sue Steward

WLMA is saddened to learn of the sudden death of Sue Steward, who will be very much missed by her many friends and colleagues in the world of music. Amongst her many other achievements, Sue was co-author, with Sheryl Garratt, of the groundbreaking 1984 book from Southend Press, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered: True Life Stories of Women In Pop.’
SIgned, Sealed, Delivered

Hear Her Singing

A message from Women For Refugee Women:

Hear her singing

The women we work with at Women for Refugee Women have been through so much. Many of them have survived sexual violence and torture, and have undertaken arduous journeys in search of safety. But their courage inspires us every day.

Now you too can be inspired by their strength and creativity.

If you are anywhere near the Southbank Centre in London up until 2 July, do drop into the Royal Festival Hall and check out the beautiful Hear Her Singing installation.

Created by artist Charwei Tsai with members of our drama group, the installation shows refugee women singing their own songs and speaking their own poetry, alongside the voices of women who are locked up in Yarl’s Wood detention centre.

You can catch the installation at six places around the Royal Festival Hall, including the Clore Ballroom, the Ticket Office and the Poetry Library, from now until 2 July.

And tomorrow Saturday at 1pm at the Royal Festival Hall there will be a Big Sing, with lots of the refugee women we work with taking part. Come and sing with us!

If you see the installations, please let us know what you think by email or Twitter #HearHerSinging @4refugeewomen”

Watch the trailer:


Manchester Calling!

We’re publicizing this notice on behalf of WLMA supporter Mary O’Meara, who’s working on an exciting project: 

‘MANCHESTER MUSIC SCENE (1960-present day) Doing things differently here…’

Call for expressions of interest by musicians, and those involved in the music “business” in any capacity. Any gender welcome!

I moved from London to Manchester late 2002 to start a record label and follow my musical dreams. For a long time I’d particularly loved the music that seemed to originate in this wonderful city and I wasn’t disappointed with what I found. One thing disappointed me though, and still does. This being the lack of visibility and support for female artists as well as women working in the “business” – it’s not that they aren’t there, it’s not that the incredible music isn’t happening despite the climate, but there is still, in 2016 a problem with the reception/perception of their music and the struggle that goes into it. From where I’m standing, which is currently Manchester, this problem has persisted for a long time and is particularly startling and disappointing in a city so rich in musical heritage and so proud of it’s innovative and revolutionary attitude in so many areas …

“This is Manchester, we do things differently here…” Tony Wilson. Yes, and no …

I’m currently at the beginning of writing a book focusing on women who make and made music in Manchester as well as those involved in the supporting industry from a cultural, political, artistic and historical perspective. Although I have a lot of people I’d like to talk to in mind already I realize there are more than likely plenty others I’m not aware of. So I’m reaching out to women, and also men, who feel they have something to say in this particular arena. Please get in touch with me via email in the first instance at


‘Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache’

‘Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out’ – ‘the first history of popular music’s queer pioneers’- by Martin Aston, has just been published by Constable

Thanks to Martin for talking to us and interviewing us for his book, for including musicians from WLMA and other women, and spreading the word about lesbian and feminist musicians and our histories.


If you order books online you can support real-life amazons! News From Nowhere, independent radical and community cooperative not-for-profit bookstore run by a women’s collective Or use Hive, another alternative which lets you donate to and support your favourite independent bookshop when you buy through



‘What about the women!’

We loved finding this graffiti on the notice in the corridor outside the British Library’s exhibition on punk rock
with the Sex Pistols crossed out and the Slits, X-Ray Spex, Siouxie and the Banshees and Viv Albertine, written in. ‘What about the women!!’ indeed! Go Viv!

Punk - what about the women!!

Photo Diane Langford/WLMA

For info on women in punk and a series of features by Cazz Blase writing women back into the history of British punk, first published on The F-Word website, please see

New stuff!

Thanks to those women who have been in touch with us at WLMA recently. We’re very pleased to have consequently  added some newly donated material, including a new entry on the 80s’ band Sole Sister, and posters and info to expand the entry for Amy and the Angels. Do check it out on  – and if you have any info or material you think should be archived please do let us know.



Congratulations Unfinished Histories – happy moving!

Benefit in aid of Unfinished Histories moving its Archive !! 

Re:Move Benefit with Siren, Rose Collis and Claire Dowie

Lesbian feminist band Siren, Rose Collis and Claire Dowie are very kindly performing in our Re:Move Benefit on June 19th, 7pm at the Pinter Studio, Queen Mary University, Mile End. All three began their careers as part of the alternative theatre scene.
For more details and tickets click 
We you hope you can join us for this splendid evening’s entertainment.
Claire Dowie & Rose Collis

Unfinished Histories has been working for nearly ten years recording the oral history and collecting the archives of the alternative theatre movement. Central to this has been work on lesbian and gay theatre history, recording interviews with Julie ParkerBryony Lavery,Bette BourneIan TownsonNoel GreigAlan WakemanKate Crutchley and many others The last three of those are no longer around but at least we were able to record their stories, create web pages and ensure their archive materials were preserved in physical or digital form. We have also created pages for some of the LGBT theatre companies of the period, detailing their histories.

Bishopsgate’s world-renowned collections focus on London history, labour and socialist history, free-thought and humanism, co-operation, and protest and campaigning and include the Lesbian and Gay Newspaper Archive and the Feminist Library ephemera collection. We feel it’s the ideal place for us. The Unfinished Histories material will be kept in proper archival conditions while remaining accessible for exhibition and events and will be available for research in the Reading Room five days a week. With more space and proper conditions we can build the archive and offer a long-term home to archival material we have previously had to refuse.

Please come along and support us as, with the move to Bishopsgate Institute providing a new base,  we embark on the next phase of our work. 
Don’t delay BOOK today

And please tell your friends via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
If you are unable to attend but would like to donate anyway you can do so via Brown Paper Tickets or via the Unfinished Histories Donations page.
And if you are a UK taxpayer and give us your Gift Aid details we can claim an extra 25p for every pound you donate. Please email for details.

Unfinished Histories: Recording the History of the Alternative Theatre Movement

Donate to Unfinished Histories
Twitter: @unfinishedhist      Follow on Facebook
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