Girls in Years 9 and 10 were treated to a special performance of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s flagship project ‘Miss Represented’, which is an arts collective, working with young women who face challenging life situations.
Miss Represented, which was established in 2011, uses the arts to explore life experiences, helping young women to develop their self-worth, building resilience and confidence. They aim to bring people together by telling their own stories and taking part in fully interactive questions and answer sessions.
Longhill High School girls from Years 9 and 10 were invited to the matinee performance, which took place in the Longhill school hall. Thanks to Katie, Saoirse and Dania for talking to us, sharing their impressions of the Miss Represented performance.
“It wasn’t exactly a play, it was people sharing their own experiences, how they felt, sometimes in poems or songs. There were two girls who were ex Longhill students, Sade and Kayleigh, who took part.”
“Originally, the girls had come together as a group, to talk about their experiences and share them, finding that other people had been through difficult times too. It started off a bit like a ‘circle time’ group, where they could talk about things and feel safe. I think it worked as a kind of therapy, making people in the group feel better and more confident about themselves.”
“Some of the performance was very emotional. The songs, which they had written themselves, were very hard-hitting, very personal – not like most of the simple songs you might hear on the radio.”
“Not everyone knows what other people go through, if they live in a more privileged part of society; they don’t know how it affects you to not have enough money, or be in a scary or dangerous situation. I think it opened people’s eyes to other people’s lives.”
“I knew before that some people don’t have as much money as other people, but they told us that a lot of people think that being in care is like Tracy Beaker, but it’s not really like that. Living in care or in a foster home can be quite bad. You’re being watched all the time, when you make a cup of tea, when you go upstairs, you’re being observed and monitored all the time – there’s no freedom.”
The Miss Represented performers ranged in age from early teens to mid-twenties. “Some of the performers had young children and had them taken away. It made me think about how that might feel. I have a sister with a child and imagined how horrible it would be for her if her child was taken away.”
“They’ve been performing up and down the country and each time they perform it, it gets easier for them to tell their stories and share them. At first they found it hard to open up, but the more they talk about it, the easier it gets – like therapy.”
What did the girls think about Miss Represented as a whole? “It came across that joining the group had really helped them; it showed them that they weren’t alone and I think that came across to the audience, that if we were having a problem, then really there are people going through similar things and we’re not alone. It was an amazing afternoon – really worthwhile.”
Thank you to all the performers and everyone involved in the Miss Represented project.