Sisterhood and Cinema with Girl Gang Manchester
Girl Gang Manchester is a collective of fabulous people who rally together to champion fun and positivity, whilst tackling personal and political concerns.
As part of the annual ‘Week 53’ festival at The Lowry, Manchester, Girl Gang are offering the latest in their series of immersive cinema experiences: we are invited to enter the world of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. In advance of the event that promises to combine artistic and community vibes similar to Girl Gang’s ‘creative club nights, exhibitions, workshops and speed mate-ing sessions’, we caught up with Lucy and Megan from Girl Gang Manchester, to get the lowdown.
Immersive cinema events delve straight to the heart of what the female collective are all about, embodying ‘the epitome of Girl Gang’s core values as they celebrate women in film and particularly women who play strong female characters within smart, hilarious scripts’. The upcoming night of festivities follows the enormous success of two previous immersive theatre events: ‘our transfer of the Mean Girls event [after the award-winning Sheffield show] sold out in 5 days, needing an extra night adding on due to demand! We built on this success with an even bigger immersive experience last year, showing the female-fronted comedy Bridesmaids’. The girls add that it’s particularly important for them to celebrate films wherein women break free from the passive, supporting roles they are so often relegated to
So why Romy and Michele? This year’s Week 53 theme is ‘coming of age’, so Girl Gang kept within the remit whilst importantly ‘choos[ing] a film that explored 'coming of age' from a uniquely female perspective that our audience would be able to easily relate to’. For them, ‘Romy and Michele's High School Reunion explores a pivotal moment in the lives of the two leading characters’; this coming of age story tackles a realisation that we can all relate to ‘as they seek to reconcile the hopes and dreams they had for the future with the circumstances that they now find themselves in’.
Deeming the film ‘essential viewing for every age group’ Girl Gang aim to reflect on this celebration of ‘lifelong female friendships [that] reminds us how we should always do what makes us happy and not just go through life trying to impress other people’. So much more than just a welcome chance for some 90s nostalgia, Lucy and Megan see this event as a chance to hit out at the ‘world where a woman's marital status is still seen as more important than her career achievements or her ability to maintain female friendships’. Instead, they offer us Romy and Michele as ‘a reminder that women motivating and empowering other women is key to success’. We are all welcomed to step aside from capitalist measurements of achievement for the evening, focusing instead on ‘a refreshing reminder that being yourself, and having meaningful connections to those around you is actually the most important aspect to leading a healthy and fulfilling life!’.
This event comes to The Lowry courtesy of ‘over 30 local interdisciplinary female artists, academics, activists and party instigators […] plus too many other talented babes to mention!’. Girl Gang also praise their collaborators, from Pull Your Finger Out Productions, Handmade Cinema and Work/Rest/Play. Their wider partners include Smart Works, ‘a fantastic charity that provides interview clothes for women who can't afford them in Manchester’ and Brown Girls Do, ‘a registered not-for-profit, dedicated to promoting diversity in the arts’. Beyond that, being commissioned by The Lowry provides ‘the support from one of the biggest arts organisations in the North West, [which] will enable [Girl Gang] to be even more ambitious with our third instalment, we can’t wait!’
The ladies confess that, in keeping with the Week 53 slogan to ‘Stay Curious’, ‘no-one (including us!) quite knows what our event will look like until the day, and we always ensure there are lots of surprises to keep our audiences entertained’.
So, if the promise of an artistic evening of the unknown has tickled your fancy, grab your tickets whilst you still can on The Lowry website.
Here's a little glimpse of what to expect, based on some of the previous successes: