From traditional Pakistani weddings to fights on the night bus, The Diary of a Hounslow Girl is told through the eyes of a hooped-earring, headscarf-wearing 16 year old British Muslim girl growing up in West London. A funny, bold, provocative play highlighting the challenges of being brought up as a young woman in a traditional Muslim family, alongside the temptations and influences growing up in and around London. We asked writer Ambreen Razia some questions.
- What exactly is a ‘Hounslow Girl’?
Apparently just like a Chelsea Girl and an Essex Girl – Hounslow Girl is the name for the stereotype of young British Muslim girls who have adopted or still wear their hijabs alongside modern trends. These are young women who quite often find themselves balancing their two coexisting worlds of old school traditions and modern British life.
- How did you first get involved with Playwriting?
I’ve always been drawn to writing about characters who often don’t get represented on our stages and screens. I love writing about the conflicts which effect young people, and want to write for and about those of our generation who come from all walks of life.
- What made you want to write The Diary of a Hounslow Girl?
A friend pointed a girl out in college who was wearing a Hijab, big hoop earrings and tight clothes and said: “Oh my days…Look at that Hounslow Girl!” I was intrigued and thought…what is that? I worked with young women, and after seeing how engaging teenagers are I just had to put one of them at the centre of a play for 60 minutes. They were interesting, vibrant and real. I also wanted to create a character based on a strong young British Muslim girl who is inquisitive about the world, bold and isn’t afraid to speak her mind and call it how it is.
- What can audiences expect from the show?
Expect to get teleported back to your school days, especially if you’re from London! Meeting some crazy characters, embarrassing situations at big fat Pakistani weddings, best friends turning into worst enemies, first loves into first heartbreaks and most importantly a character who you may have never seen before grow up in front of your eyes and take centre stage while she does.
- What advice would you give your teenage-self?
It’s okay to make mistakes, the world really ain’t gonna end.
The Diary Of A Hounslow Girl is at the Old Fire Station on Friday 17 March, 7.30pm. Tickets: £12/£10 from www.oldfirestation.org.uk or 01865 263990.