Rosie Day, who starred in the Golden Globe award-nominated television series Outlander, will star in her play Instructions For A Teenage Armageddon at the Barn Theatre Cirencester’s first Summer outdoor theatre festival, BarnFest.
The production, directed by Georgie Staight and featuring the voice of Maxine Peake as Sensible Scout Leader Susan, previously had a successful run at The Old Red Lion Theatre in London.
BarnFest runs until 5th September, Rosie Day will perform Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon from 10th to 15th August 2020. Tickets are on sale here.
You are bringing Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon to BarnFest, what can you tell us about it?
It follows a teenage girl, who’s sister has died and the cause and effect that it has on her adolescence. It explores the challenges of her teen years, from friendships to eating disorders to consent to family problems, but in a very funny and honest way, all to the backdrop of her trying to earn her scout badges and complete being a scout!
What inspired you to write this solo play?
I think there’s a real lack of leading roles for teenage girls on stage, I don’t think our experience gets to be front and centre very often, we’re often the daughter, or a side line, so I wanted to write something specifically for young women, depicted as honestly as possible. Something empowering, but truthful. Teenage girls have an awful lot to say and in the words of Taylor Swift ‘When you are young they assume you know nothing’ which is so true, young women are so often underestimated, so I wanted to give us a voice.
You performed it this February at The Old Red Lion, what did you learn from that run and have you made any changes?
We did a preview run in February, ahead of our transfer to town (that’s now been delayed until 2021!) to test the water, and I was so surprised at what a cross generational response it had. It resonated with not just teenagers and young women, which is who I wrote it for, but with grandparents, middle aged men, women of all ages, who all had really wonderful reactions. I guess everyone has been a teenager at some point, or knows one, so it was amazing to get such a brilliantly positive reaction. We’ve made some changes for The Barn as it’s an outside venue, so certain things we did with puppetry can’t be done due to light, but it’s a very similar show.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you in creating Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon?
The fear. The first few performances we did, I was utterly terrified. I can’t even explain! To be on stage on your own, with no one to fall back on if it goes wrong, no one to dig you out of a hole, and to have written the thing, it’s the ultimate fear inducing challenge! But after I settled in, it was the most amazing experience. It’s my first foray into playwriting, so I had no clue how anyone would react.
How does it feel to be one of the first live performances to return?
It’s really exciting! I was convinced we would’t get to do the show again until next year, or that I’d get to do any theatre in fact until 2021, so it was such a lovely surprise! I just have to re-learn it all now!
What would you say to anyone who’s worried about coming back to see live theatre?
So, I am one of the most COVID anxious people there are. If I didn’t think it was safe, my brain wouldn’t let me do it. But having seen the space and set up, it is so wonderfully designed to keep social distancing in place and everyone safe!
What are you looking forward to most about performing Instructions For a Teenage Armageddon at BarnFest?
I think getting to introduce it to a whole new audience! and if the show can empower or inspire just one young woman, then it’s worth it.