Backstage with Team Scary – February’s peek behind the curtain

Hello friends and welcome to the first of our Behind the Scenes blogs. In planning for our 20th anniversary celebrations, we’ve realised that there is loads of stuff that we do that informs our work – but that we probably never tell you about. So these blogs are going to draw back the drapes and let you see into the inner world of Scary Little Girls!

On our About us page we describe ourselves as being ‘a vibrant, hard-working production hub … which has shied away from producing one type or genre of art or working with only a small, exclusive pool of actors and theatre practitioners.. [we] cover a diversity of styles and themes..[are] strict about quality control and our projects and events need to be matrifocal if not out-and-out feminist and we have to headline, promote or employ more women than men.’ 

But what does this actually mean? And when it all comes down to it, what does a production hub actually do? If your involvement with theatre is from the plush seats on the other side of the curtain, praying there is no audience participation, what we get up to backstage might well be a mystery. Surely we just rock up, frock up, say our lines, and pop off for a drink after?

Well… no…

Any production starts at the very beginning (a very good place to start)! 

Imagine a performance. There’s the staging and costume – we create a vision of how we want the whole thing to look and source props, kit and costume. There’s the script – we write it. We research it – if we’re setting a suffragette story in 1918, would a woman be talking about the trousers she is wearing? There are our actresses and actors – we put out casting calls, audition, hire and train them.

In our production hub, we add to this. We recognize that *yawn* as Becca said in her January Director blog. ‘Same old same old is the levels of sexism in the arts industry’. She went on to say: 

‘I still have women coming to work with us, and some men, telling what a sanctuary it is to work in a company that is trying to work laterally with their creative teams rather than hierarchically, where ideas are given space and support and difference is valued, and where no one touches you up as part of your job.’

In the face of this, we actively work to provide opportunities, and to be better than the norm. To this end, we specifically champion and support actresses and actors from different class backgrounds, and those with protected characteristics. We have targets about the percentage of work we give to women. We research and develop ideas about environmental, social and feminist themes. We provide mentoring and peer to peer training, recognizing that learning between equals is vital. We consider (and are working on – more soon ) our emissions, our environmental impact. We use second hand props and costume, upcycle and hire items rather than buying new. 

This is just a flavour of what goes on behind the velvet drapes. We’re going to elaborate on this in the months to come and we hope you enjoy finding out how we do what we do and why. If there’s any aspect of our work you’d like to know more about, do drop us a line.

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