Forgotten Female Inventors Brought to the Foreground

In a week in which Google has offered to its female programmers the option of freezing their eggs, I thought it was time to post in honour of forgotten female techies. NPR.com’s recent article, ‘The Forgotten Female Programmers Who Created Modern Tech’ by Laura Sydell, mentions Ada Lovelace, Jean Jennings Bartik, and Grace Hopper. In 2011, NPR covered Hedy Lamaar‘Most Beautiful Woman’ By Day, Inventor By Night’, who was my inspiration for Agent 160’s event in Cardiff as part of the UK-wide Fun Palaces commemorations to honor Joan Littlewood. Joan Littlewood was a visionary female theatre director,  who dreamed of breaking down the elitism of British theatre in the 1960s to make it accessible to all via a ‘Fun Palace,’ a radical venue offering culture, science and education to everyone. Author and director, Stella Duffy, spearheaded this movement to have Fun Palaces across the UK in early October 2014. Fun Palaces e-flyer In honor of the motto, ‘Everyone an artist, everyone a scientist’ that underpinned Fun Palaces this year, I decided my Agent 160 monologue would be about Hedy Lamaar, an MGM-era actress and inventor, who was known more for her 1933 orgasm acting scene than her contribution to frequency hopping across the radio-frequency spectrum, which laid the foundation for wireless communication today.

Natalie Paisey in Shannon Yee's Frequency Hopping with the Ectstasy Girl

Natalie Paisey in ‘Frequency Hopping with the Ecstasy Girl’ (Photography by Polly Thomas at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.), directed by  Angharad Lee,  and designed by Anna Bliss Scully.

It was a privilege to be part of such a wide-spread celebration of a visionary female theatre maker, and with Agent 160, a group of visionary, talented women making theatre today. twitter 160

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