Q&A with Ambreen Razia - writer of The Diary of a Hounslow Girl

6 Mar 2017

Ambreen Razia tells all about The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, coming to Brighton at the end of March, and the inspiration behind the show.

What exactly is a ‘Hounslow Girl’?

Apparently just like a Chelsea Girl and an Essex Girl, we also have a Hounslow Girl, which 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 co existing worlds of old school traditions and modern British life.

How did you first get involved with playwriting?

Writing came out of the blue but I've always been drawn to writing about characters who often don’t get represented on our stages and screens. In terms of storylines and narratives I love writing about the conflicts which effect young people, I was heavily inspired by Channel 4's 'Britain’s Forgotten Children' season which made me want to write for and about the people of our generation who come from all walks of life.

What made you want to write The Diary of a Hounslow Girl?

The idea behind, The Diary of a Hounslow Girl was when my friend pointed a girl out in college who was wearing a Hijab, big hoop earrings and tight clothes and said, “Oh my daze...Look at that Hounslow Girl.” I was intrigued and thought what is that? I then worked with young women between the ages of 12-16 and after observing them for a year and seeing how incredibly engaging young 16-year-olds 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.

How does it feel to hand over the reins of your debut work to a new actress for the first time?

It’s truly a pleasure to be handing over the role to such an incredibly talented actress! Finally able to sit back and watch the magic which I’m sure is going to be an overwhelming and very exciting moment.

Book now to see The Diary of a Hounslow Girl at Brighton Dome on 27 Mar.