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Halo! Does Beyonce deserve her role model status?

RISE, Belgrade Young Company, March 13-18 and Shoot Festival, Belgrade B2, March17.

It's still not quite 100 years since women won the right to vote - and there is still a long way to go.

Indeed some of the tremendous progress made during the post-emancipation, bra-burning Women's Lib of the 1960s may actually be masking the on-going challenges faced by young women living in the 21st century.

RISE, a play created by the Belgrade's Young Company in collaboration with Liz Myton, features an all-female cast of aged between nine and 25.

Frustrated by their everyday experiences of sexism, the group, including Beth Bell, pictured, hijack a van and take off on a "road trip" to a Beyonce concert.

Beyonce is revered as the role model for 'girl power' but does that square with an image that panders to female stereotypes and songs like 'Put a ring on it.' It's a long and winding road and with what sounds like laughter plus a lot of challenges for both the cast and audience.

Not least why do so many young women today self-harm or suffer from mental health problems? Sounds like a must for Coventry and Warwickshire teenagers.

Better still, tickets for this Belgrade production from March 13 to 18 are free.

However, they must be booked online or through the box office on 024 7655 3055.

* By contrast the SHOOT FESTIVAL showcases the work of emerging local playwrights and artists with a triple-bill of short works that can be seen in the Belgrade's B2 auditorium on March 17.

The festival features two pieces by the physical theatre company Kinfolk Collective: Beat and then Wolf - a contemporary re-telling of Red Riding Hood.

These will be followed by the more poignant Letters from the Front, a love story from the First World War re-told by Gloria and Francis Lowe of the performing arts group Glow.

Jennifer Davis, who founded the Shoot festival three years ago, said: "The work we have programmed is exciting, passionate and diverse...we are committed to developing local artists and with the City of Culture Bid just around the corner the need to support early career companies is becoming increasingly urgent."

Tickets for Shoot cost £10.

For more details visit

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