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We were so thrilled this evening to bring an incredible three-day summit to a close with the staging of our documentary play, SEVEN, featuring seven acclaimed Indian actresses. Shabana Azmi, celebrated actress and women’s advocate, championed our Delhi production, taking it upon herself to engage fellow actresses in the staging after being moved by the SEVEN script depicting the real life stories of remarkable heroines in the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network.

A packed audience of summit delegates and international guests was in attendance for the first production of SEVEN in Asia. Featured actresses included: Shabana Azmi in the role of Inez McCormack;Urmila Matondkar in the role of Farida Azizi; Tannishtha Chatterjee in the role of Hafsat Abiola; Mahira Kakkar in the role of Mukhtar Mai; Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal in the role of Anabela de Leon; Tanvi Azmi in the role of Marina Pisklakova-Parker; and Jayati Bhatia in the role of Mu Sochua.

After what was one of the most moving productions of SEVEN to date, our summit moderator, Zain Verjee, welcomed the performing actresses to the stage once more for a brief question and answer session. Cambodian parliamentarian and long-time Vital Voices Global Leadership Network member Mu Sochua, one of the seven women portrayed in the documentary play, joined Zain and the actresses on stage alongside Vital Voices Vice President for Human Rights, Cindy Dyer.

Sochua said that the theatrical depiction of women’s stories of tragedy and triumph never fails to move her:

“Each time I see SEVEN, I hold my breath. I still cry.”

Shabana Azmi commented on both her involvement in the production as an women’s activist, and her experience as an actress:

“It’s hugely inspiring. What we did is surrender totally to the lives of these extraordinary women. All we could do is try to communicate their stories. It was a tribute, and a very humbling experience.”

Cindy Dyer recognized the sponsoring partners for the evening, the Avon Foundation for Women, and appealed to delegates to make use of a domestic violence toolkit produced by Vital Voices in collaboration with Avon; the toolkit includes strategic methods for advocacy, such as staging a reading of SEVEN to highlight the tremendous struggle and achievement of these remarkable women.