Girls, Performance and Activism : Demanding to be Heard book cover
1st Edition

Girls, Performance and Activism
Demanding to be Heard

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after August 31, 2021
ISBN 9780367427115
August 31, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Girls, Performance and Activism offers artists, activists, educators and scholars a comprehensive analysis, celebration and critique of the ways in which teenage girls create and perform activist theater.

Girls, particularly Black and Latinx teenagers, are using the tools of performance to share their stories, devise new ones and use the stage to advocate for social change. Through weaving interviews, poetic text, drama and theory, this book provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of how and why this field erupted and the ways in which girls are using performance to transform themselves and enact change in their communities. As a white woman who has collaboratively created theater with hundreds of girls of color over the past twenty years, Dana Edell offers strategies for engaging with girls across difference through an intersectional lens in order to acknowledge the ways race, age, class, ability and sexuality influence girls’ experiences and relationships with adult collaborators as they work to create meaningful, impactful and often personal, activist performances.

Including a full appendix of curricula and activities, this is the go-to handbook for teachers, theatre leaders, performance makers who want to create politically engaged work with girls and young women of all ages.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Chapter 1 – "Under Construction": Girls, Performance and Activism; Chapter 2 – "Beyond a Safe Space": Principles of Theatermaking with Girls; Chapter 3 – "Real Im(PERFECT)ions": Performing Confidence, Expressing Agency; Chapter 4 – "Held Momentarily": For an Audience of One… Plus; Chapter 5 – "Shut Up and Listen!": Performance in Public Spaces; Chapter 6 – "Finally Someone Hears Us": Considering Our Audiences; Conclusion – Ripples of Change; Works Cited; Resources

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Dana Edell is an Assistant Professor of Applied Theatre at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.


"The book is a pleasure to read, exuding the energy and panache of teenage girls. It does not stilt on theory but is clear in its exposition. Writing at the intersection of performance, activism, and girls’ studies, Edell balances an overview with firsthand experience. She expresses a love for the subject while being critical. She lets the reader in on her own questions and struggles, and the girls’ successes and challenges. Assessing the work’s impact on the girls themselves, their friends and family, and "the world" beyond, gets the reader thinking about what performance can and cannot do." - Jan Cohen-Cruz, writer & teacher, socially-engaged performance


"In Girls, Performance and Activism, girls are a force to reckon with. All the world’s a stage for their urgent messages, whether they’re performing at a United Nations meeting, in a neighborhood park, at a protest rally, a school cafeteria, or in a Tik Tok video. Freely voiced and fully embodied, activism is their first language. Dana Edell offers us all a master class in girl-driven theater as a praxis of liberation and a vehicle for social change. She confronts the complexities of partnering with girls across difference and incites us all to bear critical witness to girls’ imagination, rage, creativity, and joy." - Lyn Mikel Brown, Professor of Education, Colby College. Author, Powered By Girl: A Field Guide for Supporting Youth Activists