A pop musical, Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World, highlights the amazing stories of women in history who continue to give inspiration to girls and teenagers to be bold and imaginative.
Last Friday (13 May 2022), D’nae (my granddaughter, 15), who lives with me, her friend, Olivia, 15, and I took the 30-minute train journey to Exeter from Totnes to watch the packed show at the Northcott Theatre on the beautiful Exeter University campus.
Songs and dance celebrated for 90 minutes a message of empowerment for young women to make a difference to the world.
The show weaves around a story of Jade, a black girl aged around 12 or 13, who gets left behind in a museum during a school trip. She feels lost, confused and keeps wondering what she is going to do with her life.
She then meets one great woman after another including Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, scientist Marie Curie, pilot Amelia Earhart, activist Rosa Parks, suffragette Emmilene Pankhurst, diarist Anne Frank, author Jane Austen and more. All of whom emerge out of the Gallery of Greatness.
Inspired with their stories, Jade wants to be like them, but she knows she cannot imitate any of their lives. She must find her way to greatness, but she also wants her separated mother and father to get back together again so they can be a family,
Jade goes on a journey of finding out about herself – her vulnerabilities and her dreams, as she listens to the voices of these great, independent-minded women, who refused to submit to those around them claiming they could not convert their dreams into reality.
The music, the songs, dance and stage settings along with amazing passionate performances made an impact on the audience. We laughed, wiped our eyes and clapped regularly throughout the show. Eye-catching costumes, an insightful script and sudden changes in stage props, kept us focussed and appreciative of the message to the young reminding them of the need to take risks to serve people.
Dnae, Olivia and I sat four rows from the front with the performance offered without a stage, so the audience were close to the cast, all women. We witnessed the sheer exuberance of the performing artists, who regularly switched from one great woman to another while offering an educational, social and political message on the power of women to make a real difference.
At the end of the show, young Jade realises she does not have try to be a carbon copy of one of the inspiring women, but she has the potential to enable her deepest passion to emerge to contribute to changing the world.
A G-R-E-A-T musical. Theatre at its best. We made the 20-minute walk back to Exeter railway station to take the train back to Totnes. The three of us fully agreed that we had watched a fantastic show.
Once again, I realised there is no substitue for live performances with their capacity to touch deep places in our being to uplift our spirit and illuminate our mind.
Fantastically Great Women travels to numerous theatres in the UK.