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8th September – 29th October 2016

Talawa Theatre Company is proud to present Girls, a co-production between Talawa Theatre Company, Soho Theatre and HighTide

8 Sept - 29 Oct 2016 (On tour)

Book Now (Soho Theatre)



Three ordinary girls, Tisana, Ruhab and Haleema. Best friends forever. All the big issues: love, sex and religion …

But when they are kidnapped from their hometown in Nigeria, their world is turned upside down.

Hope and despair blur, jokes and fights become one, and each must find her own way to survive in a world of smoke, dust and gunfire. 

Girls explores enduring friendship, girlhood and the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday’s news.

  • The Times

    ★★★★ “Scorchingly intelligent and as powerful as a gut punch”

    Girls: Behind the Scenes

  • Time Out

    ★★★★ " ... clever, audacious, entertaining and full of promise."

  • Stage Talk

    ★★★★★ " ... deals with topics that could be uncomfortable, but handles them deftly, with humour and style ... Its leads are charming, and magnetic."

  • Theresa Ikoko’s Girls, funny and fiercely passionate, won the Alfred Fagon Award (2015) and was joint winner of the George Devine Award (2016) and was also a Verity Bargate Award finalist. Theresa is a Talawa Writers’ Programme Playwright. 

    Directed by Elayce Ismail (The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco), Girls makes its London premiere at Soho Theatre this autumn in a co-production with Talawa Theatre Company and HighTide, and following its HighTide Festival world premiere.

  • Theresa Ikoko

    "As a woman, and as a black woman, I was angered by ... the media response to the women who escaped and saddened by their displacement"

    Theresa talks about writing Girls

  • Performance Times
    • Aldeburgh


      01728 573 101 (10am - 6pm, Mon to Fri)

      Book Now
    • Birmingham

      Birmingham Repertory Theatre

      0121 236 4455

      Book Now
    • London

      Soho Theatre

      020 7478 0100

      Book Now to see Girls in London
  • Company Biogs

    ANITA-JOY UWAJEH | Haleema Theatre credits include: Fury (Soho Theatre); We Wait in Joyful Hope (Theatre 503); Othello (Smooth Faced Gents/Edinburgh Festival); Titus Andronicus (Smooth Faced Gents, Greenwich Theatre); Gone Too Far, A Day at the Racists, Lady From the Sea, Ivanov, Threesome, Twelfth Night, The White Devil, Iphigenia in Aulis (Drama Centre); Bow Down (The Opera Group); Every Human Creature (Southwark Playhouse Young Company). Film credits include: Agent 47 (Fox). TV credits include: Lucky Man (Carnival for Sky 1); Not Safe for Work (Clerkenwell Films for Channel 4); Transporter (Atlantique Productions).

    YVETTE BOAKYE | Ruhab Yvette trained in acting at the Oxford School of Drama. Since completing the three-year course she has gone on to perform at Hampstead Theatre, Soho Theatre (for Writers Avenue), Arcola Theatre (for Miniaturists 50), Drill Hall, Blenheim Palace (Oxford School of Drama), Etcetera Theatre (Skin Like Butter) and Latitude Festival. Her first written play, which she also directed, was shown at York Gardens in summer 2016.

    ABIOLA OGUNBIYI | Tisana Abiola trained at the Emerald Music School and ArtsEd, London. Theatre includes: The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre); Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales/Novello Theatres); Travels with My Aunt (Chichester Festival Theatre); Sweeney Todd (West Yorkshire Playhouse/ Royal Exchange Theatre); Peter Pan (Watermill Theatre); Hairspray (Cork Opera House); Hair (European tour); Soho Cinders (Gala Concert, Queen’s); Little Shop of Horrors (Kilworth House); The Merchant of Venice (National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing). Television includes: 2008 Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony, Building the Olympic Dream (BBC). Abiola is also a writer, director and producer. Her work includes The Danish Girl (short film, official selection at the Hackney Attic Film Festival) and her YouTube vlog Abiola Is My Name.

    THERESA IKOKO | Writer Theresa Ikoko studied psychology as an undergraduate and a Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has had a variety of roles in prisons, secure settings and social inclusion/community engagement projects. She now works with gangs and serious youth violence. Girls is Theresa's first full-length play, and won the Alfred Fagon Award 2015, was joint winner of the George Devine Award 2016, and was shortlisted, with judges’ commendation, at the Verity Bargate Award 2015.

    ELAYCE ISMAIL | Director Elayce Ismail was awarded the JP Morgan Award for Emerging Directors 2014/2015, under which she was Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio and directed Andrew Whaley’s The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco at the Gate Theatre. Prior to this, she was a Jerwood Assistant Director at the Young Vic in 2013. Elayce was a founder and Co-Artistic Director/Producer of Offstage Theatre from 2005–2009, is an Associate Artist of the National Youth Theatre and trained at LISPA. Direction includes: The Iphigenia Quartet: Chorus, The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco (Gate Theatre); Stay Another Song, Simpatico (Young Vic); The Lost Ring (NT/Deutsches Theater Berlin); Nanjing (The Yard); Treasure Island: Making a Scene; Girls (Alfred Fagon Award/Black Plays Series readings, NT); Struggle (Talawa Firsts/London and Bristol Somali Festivals); Bed and Breakfast (Brighton Fringe Festival & tour). Associate/assistant Direction: The Virtues of Things (Royal Opera House); The Sound of Yellow, A Season in the Congo (Young Vic); Coming Home (Arcola Theatre). Puppetry: Dr Korczak’s Example (Unicorn Theatre); Fast Burn (Kneehigh/NYT). Performance: The Magic Flute (Complicite/ENO); Ring-a-Ding-Ding (Oily Cart); In a Pickle (Oily Cart/RSC).

    ROSANNA VIZE | Set and Costume Designer Rosanna Vize is a freelance theatre designer. She graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2013 when she became one of twelve finalists for the Linbury Prize for Stage Design. Previous work includes: The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco (Gate Theatre); Infinite Lives by Chris Goode, Coastal Defences, Banksy: the Room in the Elephant by Tom Wainwright (Tobacco Factory Theatre); The Tinder Box, Joan of the Stockyards, A Thousand Seasons Passed, Talon, The Last Days of Mankind, Dark Land Lighthouse (Bristol Old Vic); Measure for Measure, Black Sheep (Oxford School of Drama); Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness by Anthony Neilson, The Wicked Lady by Bryony Lavery (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garsington Opera/RSC); Noye’s Fludde (Orchestival in association with Kneehigh Theatre); Don Giovanni (Hampstead Garden Opera); The Picture of John Gray (Old Red Lion); Howard Barker Double Bill (Arcola Theatre). Current work includes: Diary of a Madman by Al Smith (Gate Theatre); FUP by Simon Harvey (Kneehigh Theatre); After October (Finborough Theatre). Rosanna has also worked regularly as an assistant to Anna Fleischle and was the resident assistant designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company 2014–2015.

    ANDY PURVES | Lighting Designer Andy is a lighting designer working in theatre, circus and educational projects. He trained in sound and lighting engineering at the University of Derby and has an MA in lighting design and theatre-making from Central School of Speech and Drama. Lighting designs include projects made with: Frantic Assembly; Old Vic New Voices; Royal College of Music; The Freedom Theatre, Palestine; Theatre Royal, Plymouth; The Watermill, Newbury; The Nuffield, Southampton; The Unicorn; The National Centre for Circus Arts; The Sherman, Cardiff; Young Vic; Eastern Angles; New Perspectives; Inspector Sands; Spymonkey; Barbican, London; Sydney Theatre Company; Caroline Horton; Northampton Royal; Stan Won’t Dance; Tamasha; Brighton Festival; Tom Adams; Annie Siddons; La Soirée/La Clique; Cartoon de Salvo; National Theatres of Wales and Scotland. Andy is co-convener of SiPA, The Sustainability in Production Alliance, which was launched in 2015. He is committed to cultivating, encouraging and promoting environmentally responsible and sustainable practice across the live production industry. Andy won a Knight of Illumination Award for his work on Frantic Assembly’s The Believers in 2014.

    RICHARD HAMMARTON | Sound Designer Recent theatre credits include: Much Ado About Nothing, Jumpy (Theatr Clwyd); Linda (Royal Court); Tomcat (Papatango); Crushed Shells and Mud (Southwark Playhouse); The Crucible (Manchester Royal Exchange); Sunspots, Deposit (Hampstead Theatre); Comrade Fiasco (Gate Theatre); Grimm Tales 2 (Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf); Beached (Marlowe Theatre/Soho Theatre); Ghost from a Perfect Place (Arcola); The Crucible (Old Vic); Dealer’s Choice (Royal and Derngate). Television credits include: Ripper Street Series 1 and 2 (BBC); Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Secret Of Chimneys, Series 3–4 (ITV); No Win No Fee, Sex ’n’ Death, Wipeout, The Ship (BBC).

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