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Heading to the Fringe: An Interview with 'Girlhood' Writer Tiegan Byrne


As we head towards The Fringe season I had the opportunity to speak to Writer of Girlhood - Tiegan Byrne in this Behind the Curtain interview.


Girlhood follows Three parties over Three decades, seeing Three life changing decisions.


 

What is ‘Girlhood!’ about?

 

Girlhood is set at a New Years Eve party as three young woman (Nancy, Ivy and Deja) are forced to confront their futures and the idea of motherhood. Nancy meets a young man which inspires her to fall in love, Ivy discovers she’s pregnant whilst Deja argues with her long-term partner about whether she wants to be a mother.

 

What was the inspiration for the show? And what was it about that inspiration that made you think it would be a show?

 

As I reached my mid-20s, the idea and conversation of whether to have a child became a popular talking point and this made me ponder what type of mother I would be. This led me to explore how I was raised and my relationship to my parents compared to friends and those around me. These thoughts began to filter into my ideas about Girlhood.

 

What are the show's themes and messages? How did you make these themes work together in the direction and writing?

 

A big theme of Girlhood is the repetition of expectation within parenthood. Parents will always do their best for children and love them completely, but those children turn into adults with their own opinions and qualms with their upbringing and life. They will then decide to ‘be better and do better’ than those before them. This is a never-ending cycle. I made a point of making sure multiple characters say the same lines, which becomes a repetition, throughout the play to drive this theme.

 

What was the first thing you did when you started writing and directing the show? Were there any techniques that helped you to develop the storytelling?

 

Before I started writing Girlhood I decided to interview a handful of women about their relationship to motherhood. We had conversations about their relationship to their mothers and their opinions on raising their own daughters – their excitement, their hopes but also their fears. This was pivotal to shape the characters and story of the play, whilst also bringing in different experiences.

 

What started your love of writing theatre? And what would you say your writing process is when writing something new?

 

I love the feeling of a show which stays with you for the days after watching it. One that makes you think about something in a different way. One that inspires you. That is why I wanted to write theatre.

 

Before I start writing I spend a lot of time really thinking about the themes I want to explore and how best to make a story around that.


 

 

What is the easiest and hardest part of writing and directing a new show?

 

When writing a new show the hardest part for me is writing the first draft. I always throw everything into the first draft as quickly as possible and then spend months editing, stripping back and working out which parts of that draft is useable.

 

What would you say was your most memorable and proudest moment of creating the show?

 

As I sat with the director, Cecile, and producer, Sam and we all discussed how Girlhood made us feel and our unique visions for the play… I have never felt more proud. Knowing that my words have sparked conversations and inspiration in other people.

 

Where would you like to see the show within the next 2 to 3 years?

 

After the Edinburgh Fringe I would love Girlhood to come back to London and have a run!

 

How does it feel to be taking your show to The Fringe? And what are you most looking forward to?

 

It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to see Cecile, our director, vision come to life and watch the actors make the characters their own!

 

Describe the show in one sentence or three words

 

Motherhood. Silly. Thought-provoking.


 

Girlhood will be previewing at Theatre503 on 30th July (SOLD OUT), before heading to The Fringe performing at the Thistle Theatre, 2nd to 10th August and 12th to 17th August


Box Office Tickets are available from https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/girlhood



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