Following on from the Lionesses’ recent success, an exhibition celebrating the history of women in rugby league and encouraging other women to record their own memories of the sport is coming to Warrington this September.
The council and Warrington Wolves Foundation are working in partnership with Common Sense Initiative (CSI) and Rugby League Cares to bring a National Lottery Heritage funded touring exhibition to Warrington.
To celebrate Warrington’s role as a host town for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), the touring exhibition will stop off in Golden Square to mark the occasion and celebrate this history.
The National Lottery funded project looks at uncovering, documenting, and celebrating the history of the pioneering sportswomen who challenged traditional male dominance in rugby league, paving the way for thousands of girls and young women to play the game today.
Thanks to the sportswomen in the exhibition and unprecedented growth in women’s rugby league, this year’s RLWC women’s tournament is set to be bigger and better than ever. The tournament will see eight teams compete over three weeks, and it will be the first time that teams from four different continents will play in the competition.
The exhibition will launch on Saturday 17 September, with an exciting programme of entertainment in The Old Market Place, Golden Square from 11am till 4pm, which will be hosted by Jenna Brooks, Sky Sports’ Rugby League presenter and will also include some special visitors.
The programme will include interviews and talks from ex-Lionesses, dance and music. The day will be rounded off with an exclusive showing of the award-winning documentary, ‘Power Meri’ which follows Papua New Guinea’s first national women’s rugby league team, the PNG Orchids, on their way to competing in the 2017 World Cup in Australia.
The film documents the fascinating journey these inspirational women take from their home towns to the world stage. Power Meri explores how the women playing this male-dominated sport in the public eye for the first time could change mindsets in a country where the status of women is one of the most troubling in the world.
Prior to the exhibition, an intergenerational podcast workshop will take place with young people and former Lionesses to share memories and experiences of the sport.
Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and community, said: “Thanks to the pioneering sportswomen in this Women in Rugby League exhibition, women’s rugby league has gone from strength to strength.
“Warrington is proud to have a strong rugby league heritage, so it is fitting that this exhibition, which showcases what women have done for the sport, is coming to the town ahead of the RLWC in October.
“Hearing stories and memories from pioneering sportswomen is a fantastic way to see how these people have made the sport what it is today, and contributed to the biggest and best women’s RLWC tournament yet.
The exhibition will be open most days from Saturday 17 September to Sunday 25 September from 9.30am – 4.30pm in the Golden Square mall, in front of the Customer Services. A full programme will be available in September on the We Are Warrington website.
For more information about the Women in Rugby League exhibition, visit: www.womeninrugbyleague.org.uk/.
To find out more about the Rugby League World Cup in Warrington, visit: www.warrington.gov.uk/rlwc-2021.