What is Stages?
There are a lot of theatre groups/companies/academies around for young people in London – so what have I been doing? Creating another theatre group/company/academy for young people – girls to be more specific. Stages is an all-girl theatre platform for 13-17-year-olds who love storytelling and making things come to life. Stories that tell other young girls how to be happy, brave and to not easily accept anyone’s crap. Stories about mental health and the struggles of being young without an out-of-touch adult telling them how easy they’ve got it. I want them to enjoy being a girl and to be free to express themselves, love themselves and contribute equally to this big, bad world. Unacceptance needs to become acceptance. Fear needs to be fun, and life needs to be lived.
Behind the Curtain
Stages, as the name suggest, happens in parts: learning about themselves and the world around them, how this can translate into stories and how they can educate their audience. We are currently in rehearsals for a short play called Behind the Curtain. It’s set in a changing room where four friends are looking for outfits for a party that night. Behind this seemingly ordinary Saturday afternoon lies a secret that one of the friends carries: she is suffering from depression based around her body dysmorphic disorder. Behind the Curtain begs the questions: are we listening to each other? Do we see each other’s unhappiness amongst the daily activities of life? And to a young person, are we easily dismissing them?
I want to create this space for girls to support their love of theatre and use issues or shine a light on what it is to be a girl. So Stages is a platform and the themes that come out from plays and performances will also be given a platform: starting with mental health (I have written another post bringing awareness to this issue, Be Brave.) And we all know that this topic in particular is one that needs to be highlighted more now than ever. People are starting to not be afraid to speak out, or create ways in which to feature a once taboo subject. (Check out Inua Ellams’ new play Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre. It deals with mental health and masculinity in black men.)
Stages so far is in its infancy. The girls who have been turning up each week to rehearse for Behind the Curtain, are everything I hoped creating a new theatre outlet would be. I love that it’s just for girls. We can be who we want to be, safe and protected ready for the world to embrace our female individuality.
For more on Stages, email hello@titithewriter
Behind the Curtain & Other Stories, an event raising awareness about mental health is on Monday 3rd July, Project B, Croydon, 630pm. It is free, but click here to register.