Category: spoken word

if you cut out your eyes with scissors
do you think you would still dream?
…the politics of being seen
i am lying in wait
i am laying out the bait
…Salome would just chop of Herod’s dick to add to her holy head collection

Headless Women is an in-process performance research project that began at the Arts Village Rotorua Open Studios Project during Summer 2019/20 and will tour Aotearoa in 2023.

A development workshop was held at Impact Dance Studio in Ōtautahi, Summer 2021 with Chloe Summerhayes, Georgia Giesen, Denesa Chan, Hannah Blumhardt, Natalie Carroll, and Jess Quaid.

Writing that came from the residency here

Response to the workshop showing by Dr Erin Harrington here

Short film from the 2021 workshop by Natalie Kittow here

Music composed by Madison van Staden of Moody V and the Menstrual Cycle

Images taken by Natalie Kittow, Fern King, and Natalie Carroll

Scruffy or Dapper?

Big Spoon or Little Spoon?

Who would you turn straight for?

Have you found your virginity  yet?

Watch Hot Girl On Girl Action dissected reassembled and resurrected by Two Hot Femmes!

In Feminine Hygiene, Two Babes Virginia (The Lady Garden) and Marika (A Symphony of Sloths) go beyond the unicorn to smash the male gaze and find what it means to be Hot Queer Femmes!

Taking the form of a performance art essay, Feminine Hygiene is a new collaboration between performance artists Marika Pratley (Wellington) and Virginia Kennard (Christchurch), exploring concepts behind cisgender woman femme queer identity, and the tensions between having autonomy over conventional feminine/femme identity/behaviours under capitalist-patriarchal social relations.

Created in collaboration with composer,
sonic artist, and sloth appreciator
Marika Pratley/Class War on the Dance Floor/Babe of Babylon

Marika is an award winning multidisciplinary composer, improviser and performance artist from Wellington, New Zealand. Marika is currently producing her first documentary, The Healing Power of The Sloth, which investigates the role that her own music composition practice has had within her own journey of trauma recovery.

This work has been made possible through funding from Creative New Zealand Creative Communities scheme via Christchurch City Council and Creative Waikato,
Dunedin Fringe Trust Fringe Artist grant, and the University of Otago
Division of Humanities Performing Arts fund

World premiere, Hamilton Fringe
7.15pm, Wednesday 30th – Thursday 31th October 2019
The Meteor, Hamilton, NZ

Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival
8pm, Saturday 30th November 2019
Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA), Christchurch, NZ

Dunedin Fringe
7.30pm, Wednesday 25th – Saturday 28th March 2020
Dog with Two Tails, Dunedin, NZ

“The stage is set like a messy girl’s bedroom…from the onset it is mind-blowing…It’s refreshing and lovely…Bravo to this dynamic duo, who are in their way arguing, explaining or examining cis/hetero-normativity, queerness, femme power, familial congeniality and power in dark corners…Kennard and Prately very charmingly empower minority” – Jan-Maree Franicevic, Theatreview

“This narrative is my jam and I’m having to work hard at challenging myself wrt naked bodies in art, use of “menstrual fluid” for body paint…Thank you Marika and Virginia. That was awesome. Wish I had the chance to really absorb more. So many great ideas breaking down taboos between femme bodies and academic theory” – AJ Fitzwater, Twitter

“Upon completion of this festival I muse I have become more at ease with these nipples, genitals, curves, bumps, hues, hair and muscles…Virginia and Marika later talk about sex positivity as an antidote to rape culture.” – Emily Mowbray-Marks, Theatreview

How do you construct a sexuality?
Maybe at IKEA 😉

Images taken by Petra Mingneau for Movement Art Practice

We are not interested in your cis-heteronormative, patriarchal, mono-amorous, state-sanctioned, government-regulated, court-conferred notions of forever love.

We are interested in lasagne love, dogging in car parks, lesbian banter, vegan whipped cream, child-bearing hips, and our own kind of queer wedded bliss.

Blood, blood, blood ran down her legs
And i just couldn’t be more happy for her

Devised, designed, written, composed, installed, constructed,
performed, created and choreographed by
Alexis Lilly Denman, Alice Boulton-Breeze, Amy Mauvan, Chlöe Hall, Cieran Reed, Florence Simms, Jessica Mae Ivison, Kate Stonestreet, Nicole Murmann, and Virginia Kennard
Tech’d, managed, baked and dressed by
Jaye Kearney, Jazmine Webb, Adam Sas-Skowronski,
and Abby Morley
Featuring an original soundscore by
Marika Pratley and Chris Wratt (New Zealand

MA Performance, Artist Project Major module
Leeds Beckett University
12noon, Wednesday 6th September 2017
Leeds Music Hub, Leeds, UK

Performed by Virginia Kennard and Amy Mauvan
WOMAN SRSLY, curated by Grace Nicol Dance
7.30pm, Friday 27th October 2017
The CentrE17, London, UK

Performed by Virginia Kennard, Alice Boulton-Breeze, Florence Simms, and Cieran Reed
Queering Ritual, organised by School of the Art Institute of Chicago and York St John University
Saturday 4th November 2017
York St John, York, UK

Performed by Virginia Kennard
S.A.M.P.L.E. curated by Alana Yee
8.30pm, Wednesday 19th July 2017
Paper Dress Vintage, London, UK

Performed by Virginia Kennard
Mother’s Bloomers, curated by Mother’s Ruin
7.30pm, Thursday 16th November 2017
ARC: Stockton, County Durham, UK

Performed by Virginia Kennard
Tease, directed by Jeremy Haxton/Lost Cow Performances
Friday 21st November 2014
In Good Company, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Widening the Cycle exhibition
Curated by Jen Lewis/Society for Menstrual Cycle Research
4-6 June 2015
Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Photography by Filippo Gasparini

Performed by Virginia Kennard, Marika Pratley, and Chris Wratt
you occupy my body by looking
Saturday 20th June 2015
Toi Pōneke Gallery, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand



Photography credits

MA Performance, Leeds Beckett University, 2016-2017

  • Artist Project Minor: Were you smitten?
  • Choreography in Wider Contexts: and i breathe and it goes
  • Festival Project: Self Love is a Revolutionary Act
  • Artist Mentor: am i ever gonna be enough?
  • Artist Project Major: Big Queer Anti-Wedding

Watch the short film and i breath and it goes
Please contact Virginia for the password

Featured imaged taken by Virginia Kennard, edited by Stephen Daniels

Photography by

  • Kiran Mehti
  • Daisy Petley
  • Stephen Daniels
  • Jaye Kearney
  • Bella Murray-Nag

In times of social upheaval and societal change, women’s bodies become the target for pearl-clutching and knicker-twisting. I have no time for your Moral Panic, women’s bodies and women’s sexual agency is not a platform across which you must enact your politics.

Please visit Virginia’s MORAL PANIC website for more information.

A Pesky Upstart

Bludging all your CNZ money

Were you smitten?

Taking up space

I’m sorry about your fragile masculinity

Feminising space

Won’t fucking shut up

Look at what you’re wearing

That damn chair

Yes those are my undies. Would you like some gin? [Working title: The gin and undies dance]

Get the fuck away from me

Fuck your femme shaming

But whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

Stop stomping on my body for your revolution

Capitalism and sex

Millenials can’t have nice things if they want to buy a house

Minimalism will not solve capitalism

There is not such thing as ethical consumption

My body is not anyone’s property

Sex work and commodity fetishism

Sex work IS work


You don’t own me

I am allowed to own objects

My frivolity will not hurt the Cause

Photo Credits:

  • Featured image: Daisy Petley, am i ever gonna be enough, Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds Beckett University, MA Performance assessment, Artist Mentor module, 2017
  • Gillian Dyson-Moss, Were you smitten?Leeds Beckett University, MA Performance assessment, Artist Project Minor module, December 2016
  • Stephen Daniels, Self Love is a Revolutionary Act, NEWK, Live Art Bistro, 2017
  • Lachlan Forsyth, Don’t Look, TV3 Story, September 2016
  • Virginia Kennard, am i ever gonna be enough [in rehearsal], Leeds Beckett University, MA Performance, Artist Mentor module, 2017
  • Daisy Petley, am i ever gonna be enough, Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds Beckett University, MA Performance assessment, Artist Mentor module, 2017

Since her MA at Leeds Beckett 2016-2017, Virginia has been interested in writing as part of her performance practice: as research, as performance, as reflection, as exercise. Two of her postgraduate essays can be read on

She has written as a tutor and as a practicing artist for Movement Art Practice. She has blogged for The Performance Arcade Live Press, including this response to Lynn Lu‘s Haumapuhia Rising, 2018.

Virginia likes to say rambles for performance. Is it spoken word, is it poetry? Who actually knows.

Virginia is a dance reviewer on and off for New Zealand’s online review platform theatreview, largely between 2012 and 2013, as well as from 2022. She writes about dance, cabaret, and performance art. Responses to her reviews are mixed – from artists having temper tantrums, blocking her on all social media, to personal thanks over email and in depth interviews on air.

Her latest online review was for Daybreak Estate, an excerpt is published below.

Relentless Nihilist Optimism

Traipsing into the city feels hard in this omicron-y world, but *sigh* town in Christchurch on a Saturday night doesn’t look much different…nonetheless, deadly virus notwithstanding, i am pleased to have experienced this work, it warmed the cockles of my nihilist heart, plus the pink cutesy fierce femme aesthetic is this reviewer’s dream.

The early movement phrases feel like contemporary dance technique class-esque, but as the work develops these phrases become floppy and ironic and nihilistic, interspersed with unison pop dancing – the earnest-irony or ironic earnestness of the performers is a delight, with Liana Yew’s piercing gaze and champagne-popping entrances, and Liv McGregor’s too-cool-for-school stage presence, both well crafted use of these experienced dance humans. Terry Morrison and Sharvon Lewis emit shiny eager muted-exuberance that McCall has used wonderfully to offset the former.

Continue reading here.

For the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 and 2011, Virginia was a reviewer for The Skinny‘s Fringe Festival dance publication The Shimmy Skinny, edited by Gareth K. Vile. Under her own name and the pseudonym Betty Lightbulb, Virginia reviewed over 25 performances, including Where did it all go right?, of which an excerpt is published below.

Audience interaction refreshingly brilliant

There’s a big distinction in attitude towards entertainment or art in the contemporary dance scene: either with self-proclaimed artistes refusing to pander to their audience, and grasping onto their integrity to make their envisioned work, or others chasing career longevity by ensuring their work has commercial appeal.

This either/or decision has been trampled by the wonder that is ponydance Theatre Company, an Irish-based ensemble presenting quirky and commercial yet brilliantly contemporary-minded choreography to this year’s Dance Base offerings. Being accessible has certainly not jeopardised the sheer freshness and cleverness of this work.

Continue reading here

Here is an excerpt of her review of Chimera by Sascha Perfect.

Haunting, Dark, Beauty

There is dark beauty in the haunting hybrid characters that Sascha Perfect inhabits in her movement and sound world Chimera, a work premiered at The Body Festival in Christchurch in 2010 and now continuing its development in Wellington, with its Wellington premiere originally programmed for the 2012 Dance Wellington Festival which was sadly cancelled..

A series of images that morph and travel: Sascha Perfect – woman; the dead body decomposing, doll-like; the crone, crumbling to become a bundle of rags;  a pagan ritual participant, chanting;  the accusing gaze of the maiden spinning her empty bird cage. Again: Chris Prosser – man; an eccentric at his desk, blindly and blithely swiping away the enemy and devouring flesh; a musical source, marking territory with violin twangs; a support to the woman yet existing in his own exclusive death ritual.

Continue reading here.

Performance research by Virginia Kennard

What does it mean to look and to be looked at?
Reversing the Gaze
Looking in to look out, looking back

  • Video how do i look? for explicit: implicit, The Porn Project, Auckland 2013
    Movement performance by Virginia Kennard
    Sonic composition by Emi Pogoni
    Vocal artists Vincent Konrad and Rose Blake
  • Performance installation The Lady Garden
    Featuring live naked women as desexualised objects, asking the audience to renegotiate the lens with which they use to look at women and women’s bodies
    World premiere, Matchbox Studios, Wellington, December 2012
  • Notes on looking
    to and fro
    , Artspace, Auckland 2014
    Short + Sweet Dance Festival, Auckland 2014
    The Menagerie, Fringe Bar, Wellington 2015
    you occupy my body by looking, Toi Pōneke Gallery, Wellington 2015
  • Spoken word performance What is body positivity?
    Poetry in Motion, Heaven Pizza, October 2013
  • Pole performance Voyeurist
    Performed for The Pole Room, Sci-Fi Fantasy show, Fringe Bar, Wellington 2015
    Mashup by Betty Lightbulb


Get in touch with Virginia.


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© Copyright Virginia Kennard 2016