The end of H2BAG, performed by Bay House School, directed by Helen Jones

How to be a Girl! is a relentless one act play about the pressure placed on girls by the media. It unpicks the irony of being advised to resist peer pressure and be independent, yet being told what to buy, how to look and how to behave.


How to be a Girl! is published by resources4drama. Cast: nine female (can be adapted). Licensing agreements via R4D.

“Despite the relentless humour and smiles there is an intelligent, sharp cutting edge to the production.” Graham Archer, West End Wilma

“The core of the play is a slow reveal, which is what gives the piece its strength, poignancy and value. A show that does what it says on the tin with humour, satire and power.” Pamela Hall, Croydon Citizen

HOW TO BE A GIRL! synopsis

Two stories are woven throughout. The first is the relationship between advertising and editorial. The new bright eyed editor starts with the belief that she can make a difference to young girls’ lives but quickly learns that all ‘advice’ given is at the behest of the advertising manager – thus, all advice leads to selling of a product. The irony of being told to resist peer pressure, yet being told what to buy, how to look, how to behave, is a central theme of the play. The domineering advertising manager slowly squeezes the fight out of the editor until it becomes clear that this issue of the magazine is the editor’s first – and last.

The second story is about Lily. The audience are seated to read How to be a Girl!, treated as if a younger sibling, while their parent chooses flowers for Lily. Through the play, Lily’s story is revealed in a series of reader letters from those close to her, specifically her taste for diet pills. The play ends with the revelation that the flowers are for her in hospital as she has overdosed.

From its light hearted, fast paced opening, the intention of this play is for the audience to be uncomfortable, to feel sullied by the content. With comic moments and dark subject matter, it is hoped that How to be a Girl! and the implications of media content, will stay in the audience’s minds long after the play has ended.


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“A show that serves up a large slice of satire, washed down with a good dose of humour . . . with a script carefully crafted by Zella Compton.” David Weedall, Fringereview.

“The script is fantastic, and really gets to the heart of the pressures young women contend with on a day to day basis. It was funny but also moving. The play presents such important issues in a really fresh and compelling way. ” Caroline Dineage MP, ex-minister for women and equalities.




REVIEW: How To Be A Girl (Theatre Utopia) ★★★★


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