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Ambreen Razia's comic story of dreams, aspirations and coming of age.
The Diary of a Hounslow Girl is told through the eyes of a 16-year-old British Muslim Girl growing up in West London. From traditional Pakistani weddings to fights on the night bus this is a funny, bold, provocative play highlighting the challenges of being brought up as a young woman in a traditional Muslim family alongside the temptations and influences growing up in and around London.
Ambreen Razia is a writer and actor from South London. This is her debut play.
Evenings 8pm plus Saturday matinee at 2.15pm
£11.50 - £14.00 (£8.50 - £12.00)
From traditional Pakistani weddings to fights on the night bus home, London today is a cultural melting pot, where tradition meets technology and fashion meets family values. Exploring the lives of Muslim teens growing up in the capital city, Ambreen Razia's debut play follows a 16-year-old girl as she gears up to take on the world in a comic story of dreams, aspirations and coming of age. Here, the writer tells us more about her work.
What exactly is a ‘Hounslow Girl’?
Apparently just like a Chelsea Girl and an Essex Girl, we also have a Hounslow Girl, which is the name for the stereotype of young British Muslim girls who have adopted or still wear their hijabs alongside modern trends. These are young women who quite often find themselves balancing their two co existing worlds of old school traditions and modern British life.
How did you start writing plays?
Writing came out of the blue but I've always been drawn to writing about characters who often don’t get represented on our stages and screens. In terms of storylines and narratives I love writing about the conflicts which effect young people, I was heavily inspired by Channel 4's 'Britain’s Forgotten Children' season which made me want to write for and about the people of our generation who come from all walks of life.
What made you want to write The Diary of a Hounslow Girl?
The idea behind, The Diary of a Hounslow Girl was when my friend pointed a girl out in college who was wearing a Hijab, big hoop earrings and tight clothes and said, “Oh my daze...Look at that Hounslow Girl.” I was intrigued and thought what is that? I then worked with young women between the ages of 12-16 and after observing them for a year and seeing how incredibly engaging young 16 year old's are, I just had to put one of them at the centre of a play for 60 minutes. They were interesting, vibrant and real! I also wanted to create a character based on a strong young British Muslim girl who is inquisitive about the world, bold and isn't afraid to speak her mind and call it how it is.
What can audiences expect from the show?
Expect to get teleported back to your school days, especially if you're from London! Meeting some crazy characters, embarrassing situations at big fat Pakistani weddings, best friends turning into worst enemies, first loves into first heartbreaks and most importantly a character who you may have never seen before grow up in front of your eyes and take centre stage while she does.
What advice would you give your teenage-self?
It's okay to make mistakes, the world really ain’t gonna end.
How does it feel to hand over the reins of your debut work to a new actress for the first time?
It's truly a pleasure to be handing over the role to such an incredibly talented actress! Finally able to sit back and watch the magic which I'm sure is going to be an overwhelming and very exciting moment!
The Diary of a Hounslow Girl is at the Belgrade Theatre Friday 24 and Saturday 25 March.
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