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BWW Interview: Rosie Day Chats INSTRUCTIONS FOR A TEENAGE ARMAGEDDON at BarnFest, Cirencester

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The one-woman show tackles the experience of teenage girls

BWW Interview: Rosie Day Chats INSTRUCTIONS FOR A TEENAGE ARMAGEDDON at BarnFest, Cirencester

Rosie Day, who many will recognise from the television series Outlander, will perform her self-devised one-woman show Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon at the upcoming BarnFest. The production, directed by Georgie Staight and featuring the voice of Maxine Peake, previously had a successful run at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London.

The play is a call to arms for young women, and highlights the difficulties in navigating adolescence. BarnFest is the Barn Theatre's first summer outdoor theatre festival, running until 5 September.

What was the inspiration behind writing Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon?

I really wanted there to be a play that was just a teenage girl, telling life as it is as honestly as possible. I often go to the theatre and parts for young girls are either daughters or side characters, or they're just not particularly realistic. I play a lot of teenage girls and I wanted something to really show our experiences honestly. So I guess I decided to write it myself. Teenage girls these days are so smart, and interesting and powerful; they really can and are changing the world. I wanted to give them a voice.

Tell us a bit about where you've performed the show before, how that went, and what you'll be doing differently for this run.

We did a preview run at the Old Red Lion, which got amazing, cross-generational responses. Grandads, mums, people from all walks of life seem to really relate to it, I guess because everyone has been a teenager at some point and can remember those emotions. We had an 80-year-old lady who came back twice! And then we were meant to be taking it into central London, but due to Covid, that's been delayed until 2021. For the Barn, we've had to cut 30 minutes from the show, which means a lot of anecdotal tangents have had to go.

What's the experience like performing a one-woman show?

Terrifying at first - completely and utterly terrifying not to have castmates with you on stage! Also, it's the first play I've written, so that's a whole other level of nerves to deal with. But I've found there's a real power in telling a story you really believe in, and seeing people respond to it so well.

How did Georgie Staight become involved, and why did you decide to bring on an outside director?

I always knew we'd need an amazing female director for it. I'd met Georgie for a coffee to discuss another play she was doing, that I couldn't do in the end, but we'd got on so well - she's so electric and smart and funny - that I sent her Teenage Armageddon and really hoped she'd like it. We're around the same age, with very similar thoughts and tastes, so I think we make a really great team.

It sounds like your show deals with some pretty serious content - would you still describe it as a comedy?

Yes, there's a lot of dark humour in it, as I think people often use humour as a coping mechanism. Some nights, people would be laughing so hard, I'd have to hold for the laughter, and other nights you'd have an audience that would feel like they couldn't because of the subject matter, and you could hear a pin drop. It's really interesting.

What do you think audiences will gain from seeing Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon?

I hope they come away feeling really empowered, with more of an understanding of what young women today go through - as well as having had a good time!

See Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon at BarnFest from 10-15 August

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From This Author Bella Bevan