Guest Blog: Camille Dawson on highlighting the stories of Girl World

For our latest blog, Camille Dawson talks about her childhood memories and creating Girl World to cherish our pre-pubescent selves.

Girl World is coming to CPT on Sunday 2 June at 5:30pm as part of our Calm Down Dear festival of female theatre. Click here for more information.

We are FRISKY and this is Girl World.

We are thrilled to be a part of CDD19 and so we wanted to write a blog post to tell you a little more about us, the shows development, our attitudes to kicking up the dust on mis-told female narratives, and how you can get involved with our future project!

The piece

Girl World is a coming-of-age comedy. It tracks the relationship of two best friends, Tilly and Inga, who are dealing with the pressures of the outside world without actually having experienced any of them. That’s because they exist in a surreal bubble called Girl World with no contact with the outside world, where the one rule is ‘No boys allowed!’. But change is coming… as they start to grow up… and discover their holes…their world no longer looks like a hubba bubba poptastic universe of girly joy. It descends into a foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed battleground with the stakes mounting as the girls vie for dominance.

The Origins of Girl World

Camille Dawson (writer of Girl World): When I was eight-years-old, me and two sisters, Molly and Una Richards, found a big roll of wallpaper. Upon it, we began a drawing that came to be called Girl World.  It depicted a girls’-eye utopia with everything a pre-teen female could dream about.  Working on it for weeks, then months, it became a huge scroll-of-a-world, with expansive femme-tastic landscapes.

As the scroll unfurled, Girl World began to stray from its origins. We became fascinated with the idea of boys, and then of sex. In spite of maintaining the rule that boys were banned from Girl World, we found subversive ways of sneaking them in. Paper engineering revealed naughty happenings: a girl might seem as if she was taking an innocent jacuzzi, but lift the flap and you behold a scene where she is having outrageous sex beneath.  This was naughty and fun and we egged each other on to conceive more outrageous ideas.  Soon there were zones where you could see boys locked in cages; then a huge insemination tank popped up where the girls would arrive with waiting receptacles.

Jump cut to January 2017 and I visited New York City for a month. To set the scene… the city is in constant blizzard, Trump is being inaugurated as President and tens of thousands are protesting in the streets. Despite the grim circumstances, there is energy in the air of new beginnings which is inspiring people to come together. When I wasn’t protesting or partying, I immersed myself in experimental theatre, music, and galleries. On this journey, I discovered the hilarious and unusual plays of Tina Satter. When leaving Ghost Rings, I was stunned by how the freaky kids reminded me of my childhood with the Richards. But when asking my friends if they found the characters familiar as I had, the shocked looks on their faces made me realise that perhaps we had a story to tell. So when wandering around the Museum of Modern Art the next day, the idea sparked to turn all this rich childhood history into drama and make the piece an authentic and raw confession of our own experiences.

Why Calm Down Dear Festival at CPT?

We are so excited to be taking the show to a feminist festival that promises work that is anti-sexist, female-centric and fiercely alive because this is entirely what we stand for.

Girl World is situated perfectly here because it covers the unusual and untrodden topic of pre-pubescent sexuality.

We question: Why is it that we relegate childhood into its own discrete chapter that we think has no bearing on where we are now?

We feel that our girlhood experiences and memories are often suppressed and put in a box as insignificant and embarrassing, when in actual fact we can learn a lot from pre-pubescent sexual awareness, and how children imagine the world of adults to be, through their hazy understanding of hints and innuendos. Furthermore, we can celebrate how painful and yet hilarious that time was and realise that our first steps into the world of sex didn’t begin when we were discovered by a sexual partner but long before… explored in the imaginative children’s games played in our bedrooms.

We are ready to kick up the dust surrounding how adolescent girls are represented. We were not weak doe-eyed innocents! Our experiences of being young women were, and are, defined by outrageous play, uninhibited experimentation and irreverent self-definition.

Image credit: (c) Molly Ann Pendlebury

Take part: Slugs, Sleepovers & Sacrifices

One of the greatest pleasures of performing this show has been that our audience, people that we have never met before, often feel compelled to approach us and disclose all their funniest childhood faux pas and naïve misconceptions, involving their imaginary friends and their outrageous secret bedroom games.

In celebration of this, we would like to gather your most bonkers and beautiful stories and reminiscences, of your most hidden moments of childhood; what you were really thinking as opposed to the stifled candy-box image with which ‘grown ups’ prefer to comfort themselves.

We will be discussing this with our audience on the night, but if you would like to take part in Slugs, Sleepovers and Sacrifices project online, then please share with us a memory, a moment, a tradition, a ritual, a dream, a fantasy, a fear… whatever comes to mind.

You can do so here.

Please note that if you choose to share this with us, you may find yourself featured in a publication. In the attendant document it is an option to anonymise or to leave your contact details before we publish anything that you are happy with the inclusion.

Thank you in advance for your bravery in sharing. Trust us, it’ll feel good knowing you weren’t the only weird kid…

That’s all from us for now! Come check out Girl World 5th June at CPT! And even hang around for the double bill as Emily Howarth’s ‘Dumped’ is meant to be the bomb.

Big love,

Camille Dawson & Frisky