During the late 19th and early 20th Century women from around the world united to fight for their right to vote – a crusade that was called the suffragette movement. During times of hardship, women were able to find small comfort and power in a simple tube of red lipstick, a luxury that was seen as a statement of defiance during this time.
The red lipstick became a staple of the suffragette movement in 1912, when a woman named Elizabeth Arden, founder of the cosmetic company, decided to join and empower the Women’s Social and Political Union. When the Suffragettes took their fight to the streets of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Arden handed tubes of red lipstick to suffragettes passing by her salon. She intended the colour to be a symbol of hope, power, strength and camaraderie for those marching. As a result, the striking shade of lipstick became an integral part of the rally uniform and something of a symbol of female emancipation. This symbol still resonates today.
This summer, to commemorate the centenary of the first women’s march for equality, WNO joined forces with all women creative team to present a brand-new, rip-roaring musical comedy, Rhondda Rips It Up!, that takes audiences on an unforgettable journey through the life and adventures of Margaret Haig Thomas (Lady Rhondda) - a woman of passion, strength and a pioneer through the suffragette movement in Newport, South Wales.
MAC, the well-known cosmetic brand, has been supporting WNO for over 10 years. Providing our wig and make-up department with a variety of make-up products, including red lipstick. With many of our productions having a cast list over 30, working with MAC gives us the ability to create endless make-up looks for our varied productions.
We wanted to pay homage to the strength of suffragettes and the support we receive from MAC by creating a video based on the theme of the famous Deeds Not Words slogan, that resonates throughout Rhondda Rips It Up!, courtesy of WNO Chorus.
Wear your red lips with pride.
Our five-star cabaret-opera Rhondda Rips It Up! is out on the second part of its tour this month, taking in additional cities in Wales and England. If you didn’t get to see the production in the summer, this is your final chance to enjoy this critically acclaimed new production from WNO.