Very recently the Girls Be Heard (GBH) Theatre Group paid a visit to Whitley Academy to perform and talk to our Whitley Academy Year 10 students. The event was supported by US Embassy London.
Girl Be Heard is a New York-based and non-profit theatre group that uses theatrical performances to bring global issues affecting girls to audiences world-wide.
Led by Jessica Greer Morris, Executive Director and Co-Founder of GBH, the group came to Whitley Academy to share their stories and how they could help other girls to tell their stories and positively move on in their lives while helping others.
Jessica started their performance with a PowerPoint presentation. We then came to realise that the group started in 2008 with only eight girls. Now they have more than 100 members. The Group has performed at the White House, State Department, United Nations. This time they were on a European tour to London, Geneva and Copenhagen. We were also told about the Group special performance for William Hague (our British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) and Angelia Jolie. How amazing!
Jessica also mentioned that they had provisions for 12 to 21 year olds on a Sunday where girls could go and talk about themselves.
After the presentation the girls went on stage and performed their inspirational, heartfelt stories. In fact they made some personal stories into professional theatre performances which have now become award-winning shows.
Dominique Fishback, one of the performers told us a story about racial issues from her rap song… All of us listened attentively. It was so cool! We loved it! The message from her story was so powerful!
All the five performers told us different stories dealing with issues like pressure of being born as girls, the clichéd perception that people have about people with different skin colour. These were funny but emotional stories, and stories that we think made every one of us think so hard about the reality of the life we live in around us.
At the end of the performance the GBH group merged together with all of us and talked to us. They wanted to hear from us, our thoughts of the performance and issues of our concern. It was casual and very open for all of us to talk.
When the bell to mark the end of the school day rang we all ignored it and went on talking. Then it was time for some fun…. Dominique and Monica Furman started teaching us some of their dance steps. Everyone picked it up quite easily. There were some boys in our audience and everyone just enjoyed the last minutes of the visitors’ stay. Soon the girls had to leave. So, they took some final pictures and a video of everyone who was involved in watching and performing the show saying “Whitley Academy has Girl Power!!” Then the girls had to go, but they said that as we were the best and the last school they had for an audience and they loved being here.
As the Year 10 left the Girls said their final goodbyes and some even managed to get pictures with them just before they got in their silver mini bus to Birmingham for their final performance (before flying out to finish their Across the Borders tour).
Now it is our turn to follow the Girls via our own social media. There will be more stories to tell later on….
Written by Divya and Eleana (12 years old student reporter of Whitley Academy)