Q&A with Florence, writer and performer of Destiny
Who should come to see Destiny?
Everyone :) I think people from all different backgrounds, ages etc connect with Destiny’s story in different ways. The themes of the show are really universal, it’s particularly relatable to teenage girls and young women, especially those from working class, poorer backgrounds.
And I guess everyone’s either been a teenage girl, is one at the moment, or probably knows one in their lives.
If you’re into new writing that’s funny, tough and raw that challenges the power structures in our society, then yeah come along for sure!
If you’re a young person into acting, writing, theatre, the arts in general – I reckon you’ll vibe with it. Also if you’re a big lover of the noughties music, fashion culture etc like me then the show will be mad nostalgic for you – it’ll defs be a trip down memory lane and have you bopping to the music I reckon :)
Why were you inspired to make Destiny?
When I started writing DESTINY, I wanted to write the play I wish I’d seen when I was 16. I wanted it to be truthful to mine and my girls experiences growing up in Chippenham in the early-mid naughties. Getting into acting, theatre as a young person I didn’t see myself and my community represented on stage or the arts in general really, so therefore I felt like it wasn’t for me really, that I didn’t fit into the industry, that I had to adopt a more middle class way of being, and that my stories and experiences weren’t valued within wider society. I wanted to challenge that attitude and try and help change it for younger artists, performers, writers, coming up – to inspire them that they can tell their stories, if they want to, that they matter, and they can do it in a way that’s truthful, bold, authentic to them, that celebrates them as they are – that they don’t need to change themselves, their beautiful as they are!
I also wanted to talk about and challenge the epidemic of violence against women and girls that exists in our culture and that has become so normalised. I wanted to make a show that tackle’s that head on, that talks openly about what so many girls have to experience when growing up, how they're mistreated and often not supported by the institutions and people that are supposed to support them the most. I hope in opening up a conversation about this young women will be able to recognise abuse, violence, unhealthy relationships for what they are at a much younger age than I did. So they don’t have to go through as much of the pain and heartbreaks that me and my girls did.
How have you felt about audience responses?
Ahhh it’s been beautiful! Yeah amazing and overwhelming and emotional and exciting – all of the feelings really. It also breaks my heart a bit every time I perform the show and meet and chat to girls/women to learn just how common the things Destiny goes through are for so many of us – that these things are happening all over the country and beyond. But to know I can help some of them to reach out and get the support they need or to see that we can overcome, heal, grow and thrive after abuse – is incredibly emotional for me and makes me feel like I’m doing something of value with my time.
To know it’s connecting with and inspiring the next generation of teenage girls and young women from around the UK is such a beautiful thing. I can’t really put into words how special that is to me. I guess I’ve done my job innit. Regardless of what’s next, I can rest easy now.
I now have young people messaging me a lot from all different places, backgrounds telling me how the show, my journey has inspired to make their own shows, tell their own stories, that it’s given them more confidence – that fills my heart with pure joy to be honest.
What do you hope audiences will take away from your show?
That wherever you’re from you deserve to dream and to be heard. That you can reach for the stars too!!
I hope it builds empathy and breaks down judgements that some people have towards working class young people – who are miraculously managing to get by in a world that is so often stacked against them.
I hope it gives people hope really that things can change, that it gives survivors confidence to speak out, and that it makes young people, particularly from more rural areas feel valued and like their experiences matter.