21/03/16 - 'Mean Girls' at Hope Mill Theatre with Girl Gang Manchester

Twelve years ago, a film was released which would define a generation, full of ideas that continue to resonate and dialogue which has since become a staple of the millenial vocabulary.  It featured a stellar cast who would almost all go on to have successful careers, and razor-sharp writing courtesy of one of the best women of our time.  That film was Mean Girls.

It's no longer possible to dismiss it as another in a long line of silly chick flicks - the legacy that the film has left means that it has to be considered on a higher plain than that.  And the thing about Mean Girls which unfortunately is still revolutionary over a decade later is that it gives a platform to the issues which affect teenage girls and it takes them seriously.  The focus is on the nuances of female friendship and the social hierarchy it exists within, with any romantic plot very much taking a backseat to Cady's journey of self-discovery.  The girls might be mean, but they're real.  And that's why it's made such a massive impact; because it's so accurate.  Tina Fey knows what's up, and she's responsible for creating a legend.

And on Saturday 13th March, I got the chance to relive the Mean Girls magic thanks to Girl Gang Manchester and the Wonder Women festival.  GGMcr are a collective of female artists who run events designed to promote creativity and collaboration, and Wonder Women is Manchester's annual feminist festival celebrating the art, music and film of local women - so the two are a match made in Heaven!

I gathered two of my best girls and we made our way to Hope Mill Theatre just outside the Manchester city centre.  None of us really knew what to expect and frankly we could never have prepared ourselves for what was in store for us when we arrived.  From the moment we walked through the door, we were welcomed into a beautiful sparkly world of party bags (containing - amongst other things - a handmade bracelet and a girl power mix CD!), stalls run by independent female sellers, a bar selling Mean Girls-themed cocktails and tables of drop-in workshops.  There was such an air of positivity and enthusiasm in the room, and it wasn't long before we were getting stuck in.  Super Jumbo Tampons in hand - WKD, port and vodka - we did a lap before settling down to get creative!  We started with 'A Cake Made of Rainbows and Smiles' and then got to be 'Art Freaks' like Janis Ian.

We were so caught up in our creative pursuits that we totally missed the Mean Girls quiz and only roused ourselves from cutting and sticking like we were in primary school again in order to settle for the film.  The room which acted as the makeshift cinema had been decked out in full Spring Fling regalia and as we bagged ourselves front row seats, I suddenly realised how excited I was.  I never saw Mean Girls in the cinema, instead renting the DVD from Blockbuster and watching it with my mum and younger brother who certainly didn't appreciate it in the way they should have done.  I've seen it more times than I can count in all kinds of situations, but getting to watch it in a room with over a hundred like-minded women was something of a revelation.  It's very special when a group of people unite through a shared love of anything, be it a book, a film, a band or a sports team, and hearing everyone in the room erupting in laughter at the same time or quoting favourite lines under their breath was heart-warming.

After the screening, it was time to party like it was 2004!  All the chairs were moved aside and the cinema became the best school disco I've ever been to, blasting a soundtrack of amazing songs by amazing women right up until 2am.  I boogied the night away and sang my heart out at the top of my lungs to the likes of Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Kate Bush.  It was glorious.

I cannot thank the Girl Gang Manchester team enough for organising such a fantastic event - the main thing I took away from the evening was the amount of effort which had gone into making it the success that it was, and it was clear that every element had been carefully planned with so much love and commitment.  Everyone involved should feel immensely proud and I will definitely be throwing myself into whatever event is next on the calendar!  It's so rare to go anywhere and find it full of people who are just there to have a great time and support each other.  The spirit of sisterhood was truly alive and well at Hope Mill Theatre.

Big love to Heather and Erin for joining me at this brilliant event!

What film would you want to see as an immersive screening?  Let me know!

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