Term Two – Lab Project Four (by Titilola Ige)

“I’ve always considered women to be people.”

There are a lot of young girls who attend drama workshops, go up for parts in school plays and who want to be actresses. These are the young girls who – if they do get acting roles – are dissatisfied by the type of roles they are given. Tonic Theatre and the National Youth Theatre came together and spoke with theatre leaders and drama teachers. What continually came up was the frustration of there not being enough roles for girls. Good, strong, action-packed, meaty roles. Not just the role of a girlfriend, little sister, friend or mean girl.

Lucy Kerble, the director of Tonic Theatre held sessions with a few of us MA Dramatic Writing and Foundation in Performance students. With her, we discussed possible reasons for why there seems to be few great acting roles for girls. We looked at a script written for girls and pulled it apart to see whether it was relevant, relatable and held longevity.

Tonic Theatre commissioned three playwrights to write plays that are written specifically for youth theatre groups and focused on large groups with a lot of female parts. This got me thinking about the theatre group that I run for young people. Any time we have run workshops, read plays and performed them – they have either been what myself has written for them, or plays where we have to adapt the male parts to fit them. Lucy’s workshop highlighted the important work that still needs to be done. As emerging writers we can write more parts for girls. We are able to give a platform to so many different types of groups of people that are being underrepresented. We can all do our part; do something to level the playing field.

American novelist George R.R. Martin was asked in an interview about writing strong female roles:

Interviewer: I noticed you write really well and really different. Where does that come from?

George R.R. Martin: You know… I’ve always considered women to be people.

Enough said.

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