Well we love a pun for starters.. But this famous origin story called for a reworking in our minds… Something that reclaims the woman from man and says women can be so much more than the ancient stories we were told. Andro and Eve is a name that recognises we women don’t need to be femme. We are androgynous, butch, dykes, tomboys, but the divine feminine and ‘Eve’ character is also just as powerful as the archetypal man, masculine woman or genderfluid person.
We like our name because it acknowledges the blurring and broad spectrum of gender identity, and we seek to ensure our events and ethos are inclusive of transgender men and women and non binary people, because we have much in common, and queer community is about building a family outside of heteronormativity (for us). We are about uniting different identities across race, class, gender, sexuality, disability and age. Lastly, our name was also chosen because we are keen that ‘straight’ women have a space they can feel safe and free to explore women – made creative output, and break down some barriers that sadly, sometimes exist between different women. Cis men are welcome at our larger events, we just put women first. Women to the front! (In the spirit of Kathleen Hanna)!
Now we just need to remember all that next time we get asked about our name!
2016 was a tough one for lots of reasons, and we are grateful for independent media such as Autostraddle, Media Diversified, DIVA, Bitch Media, Black Ballad UK and Girls Like Us Magazine amongst others, for providing alternate viewpoints and a sense of community in these difficult times. However, we can’t help feeling excited and a little bit proud of what we’ve achieved here in Sheffield at a time when it seems that women-focused and queer spaces are needed more than ever.
Since going social media live with Andro & Eve in April this year, we’ve now got a brilliant series of sold out events under our tool belts (#sorrynotsorry). Watching the growth of what started as the seed of an idea at a lesbian night in Berlin back in 2015, has been a very satisfying beginning to what we hope is a long and successful journey.
Our first event in May was a women only screening of Jamie Babbitt’s But I’m a Cheerleader at Café 9. Armed with hand-made pom-pom decorations, free ice cream courtesy of Emily’s Ices and a giant vegan cheerleader-skirt cake (yep), we had a brilliant night. It was nerve racking, but we loved it. Successfully bringing strangers together to enjoy this cult classic in a safe environment was a real win for us.
We then took part in Autostraddle’s International Brunch weekend where ten of us met at Depot Bakery and enjoyed the best type of food; Breakfast. We literally put Sheffield on the queer lady map that is Autostraddle.
Our second pop-up cinema screening in October, was Tomboyby Celine Sciamma, which featured a colouring competition, with the winners being totally thrilled with their free tickets to THE KINGDOM COME in November.
Our drag king night had been a long time in the making, and was our first larger event, but with a fab lineup, talented hosts (Adam All and Apple Derrieres), plenty cake and so much sparkle, we knew we had something special, and the crowd loved it.
We’re so proud of what we, a lesbian, queer couple, have managed to achieve, with zero funding, but a whole load of hard work and enthusiasm. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve paid all our artists, catered specifically to audiences often not the focus of LGBTQ events (women identified and non binary folk) and highlighted queer culture through high quality events. As well as these events, we’ve enjoyed and supported as many other shows, screenings and festivals as we could, and have been totally inspired.
Notable highlights include Kate Bornstein at Queer Contact, SQIFF in Glasgow, The Punk Singer screening by Girl Gang Sheffield, (Which incidentally, Rhiannon recorded a cover for, of Le Tigre’s Les & Ray for Girl Gang’s accompanying CD), Strike a Pose at Sheffield Docfest, Transforming Cinema in Sheffield and Key Change by Open Clasp Theatre, and of course the Formation World Tour. I mean. Seeing BEYONCE was a lifelong dream, and it was everything. Grimes, Christine and the Queens, Lisa Hannigan and Agnes Obel were okay too….jk, they were all sublime. We’re a little bit in love with all of them. Female supergroup maybe?
We have sooo many of plans for 2017, (our first event is a screening of Gender Troubles: The Butchesby Lisa Plourde) but making sure to grow in a sustainable way, while continuing to make a space that is diverse in its representation and audience is a key focus. We’re looking forward to more collaboration and always keen to hear from people who might want to work with Andro and Eve.
Special thanks this year to our volunteers who’ve helped make the events happen and the local organisations and individuals who’ve helped promote Andro and Eve. We’d also like to thank publishers, Our Fave Places, Now Then, Exposed, and Vibe Sheffield for helping get the word to a wider audience about what we’re doing. Roll on 2017!
Katherine’s personal goal for 2017 is to bake more vegan cakes, so if anyone has recipes, please share! Rhiannon’s personal goal for 2017 is to eat more cakes in general.