Girl ImprovEd Experiment

Using the Past to Change the Present

Tired of the fact that Shakespeare plays have so very few female characters? We are, too. We know girls weren’t allowed on stage in the Elizabethan age. So what? That’s not the case, anymore. Wait…. According to the Huffington Post, only 28.3 percent of characters in family films, 30.8 percent of characters in children’s shows, and 38.9 percent of characters on prime time television are women. And according to Lauren Gunderson, it’s not any better in theatre: only 1 out of 3 characters is female. Don’t even get us started on the percentage of female playwrights. (Okay, fine. It’s 20%.) Gah! Our modern entertainment still has limited female representation!

Here at ImprovEd Shakespeare, part of the improvements we make involves changing the sex of the characters. (Hey, we even had a female Hamlet. (Should we have called her ‘Hamlette?’)) But we’re taking it one step further with our Girl ImprovEd Project. In order to change the future, you have to change the present. Rather than focusing on acting (of which we feel 90% of the young performers are female), we are nurturing a bevy of girls to develop their skills as Writers, Producers and Directors.

This Project has taken on a life on it’s own. You can visit the Girl Improved website for more information.


HOW IT WORKS

Over a period of 32 weeks, our girls-only club will develop one or several plays and/or musicals using Shakespeare as a jumping-off point. What better way to mock the system, than to shake up Shakespeare? The writers can adapt a story or focus on a single character or… the possibilities are limitless. The only rule: the final pieces must have a predominantly female cast with female leads.

At the same time, the girls will be involved with the details of producing a show. They will be raising money for their summer production while learning the ins-and-outs of finding investors, fundraising and marketing.  (Important to note: if they can’t raise the funds, there will be no summer production. But don’t worry, we’re sure they can do it and we’ll be helping them to succeed.) As a group, the Producers will make an educated decision, determining which of the completed plays is best for production. All of the girls are welcome to apply as Director, but the Producers will have final say. Together, the Producers and Director will also assign other crew positions and help with casting. At this point, more outside people may be brought in to fill in the gaps. Finally, a three-week rehearsal period culminates in the opening of the show in late June for a two-week run. The girls will be mentored every step of the way by a crew of talented and experienced adults.

By the end of the year, the Girl ImprovEd members will have the power to become the change in entertainment. They will be able to Write, Produce and Direct, confident in their skills to become movers and shakers in this industry.

WHO CAN APPLY

Open to 6th-9th grade girls.

THE DETAILS

When: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm | Sept 8th, 2014-April 27, 2015
Break: November 24, December 22, December 29, 2014; March 16, 2015
Where: Balance Dance Studios | 4544 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78745
Tuition: $400/year (payment plans of $50/month available upon request)

Performance Production:
REHEARSALS (Evenings and weekends, 5 days per week, specific dates TBD
May 25-June 10, 2015
Tech: June 14-17, 2015

PERFORMANCES (Thursdays-Sundays)
June 18-21, 2015
June 25-28, 2015

HOW TO APPLY

Limited spots are available, thus each applicant must submit a paragraph detailing why she’s interested in the project. We’re seeking like-minded girls who are passionate about the existing problem in media and want to change the present to pave the way for a more equitable future. Participants will be chosen based on their dedication and desire to create a better environment for girls in entertainment.

APPLY NOW