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Musical

Girlfriends

Genre Comedy/Satire; Drama
Collection
Catalogue
 
Composer Howard Goodall
Lyricist Howard Goodall
Book By Howard Goodall
 
Other Credits Girlfriends was originally commissioned and premiered by the Oldham Coliseum in May 1986.
Format Book Musical
Type Full Length
Status Available (?This work is currently available for application in Australia and New Zealand subject to our standard Terms of Use.)
Version 1986 Version

Short Synopsis

GIRLFRIENDS is set in Norfolk in 1941 and takes a heartfelt look at the many issues faced by the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in the Second World War.

“It’s the most inspiring musical revival of the year... largely due to the emotional force of Goodall’s yearning, aching melodies that float and linger in the air and memory.  Goodall’s music is so exhilaratingly good at establishing its atmosphere of nervous anxiety and simmering personal tensions on a World War II air force base” The Stage Reviews, Mark Shenton

Rehearsal Materials

Rehearsal Materials on Hire

GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) REHEARSAL SET

  • 10 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) LIBRETTO
  • 10 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) VOCAL SCORE
  • 2 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) PIANO/VOCAL SCORE

Orchestral Materials

Orchestral Materials on Hire

GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) ORCHESTRAL SET

  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) OBOE
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) CLARINET
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) SOPRANO SAXOPHONE
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) ALTO SAXOPHONE
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) TRUMPET
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) PIT PIANO
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) KEYBOARD
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) CELLO
  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) DOUBLE BASS

Theatrical Resources

Theatrical Resources on Hire

Optional Extras

GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) FULL SCORE SET (A$105.00)

  • 1 × GIRLFRIENDS (HOWARD GOODALL) FULL SCORE

Visit our Theatrical Resource page to find out more.

Casting Information

Dance Requirement:

Detailed Synopsis

Some further thoughts about producing Girlfriends.

Girlfriends was written under Thatcher. This may seem an odd detail to start with but it is germane, since Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister and also one of its most belligerent. This led many of us who were not natural allies of her political stance to wonder whether the easy assumptions we had grown up with - for example, that women are less warlike than men - were in fact out of date and not particularly helpful. I wanted to examine this a little further by looking at the role of women in quasi front-line positions in WW2 to see what might be learned from that experience, and in reading the research material discovered that - as one might expect, the picture was a confused one, with many women torn between the damage they were undoubtedly inflicting upon other women and their families in other countries, and their duty to stand up against a bloody tyrant who had thrown away the morality rule-book. They were aware that a pacifist or appeasement stance would have meant the occupation of Britain. Unlike their counterparts in France, a country which then as now was extremely reluctant to put up a fight and consequently accepted a humiliating (and ultimately pointless) deal with the Nazis, the women of Britain were able to witness and judge for themselves what that moral choice would have entailed. In France ordinary people imagined that fighting the Germans again would have been a re-run of the First World War and decided that nothing was worth repeating that for (France lost over one million men in the first war). Very soon they discovered in the appalling aftermath of their defeat that maybe fighting would have been better than what followed, but they weren't to know this at the time they made their pact with Hitler. The British had seen what occupation was doing, not just in France but all over Europe, and were horrified at what it meant in reality (deportations, slave labour, pillage, torture, endemic cruelty, rape, separation and dispersal of families, impoverishment, deprivation and widespread human rights abuses). Because of this, many people who before the war had held pacifist opinions revised them in the light of events; there are many insightful and moving accounts of, for example, religious teachers who had campaigned vehemently against military intervention before the war who went on to write extraordinary testimonies declaring that the evil being faced was so great and so unprecedented that they believed it was acceptable to suspend their previously-held moral positions. Their moral dilemmas were acute, and I was immensely impressed and humbled by the intelligence and integrity with which they faced them. I wanted to reflect the multitude of feelings and moral positions that co-existed amongst people fighting for the Allies in that war, to get beyond the - undeniably compelling - moral certainties of the Churchill speeches. What was unique about these women is that 6 weeks before they were ordinary folk who suddenly, with almost no training, preparation or build-up, found themselves at the front line of history's most frightening, industrialised and barbaric confrontation. These were not trained military personnel who had had months of brainwashing, nor were they modern people who could see TV reports, surf the net or read detailed & balanced news journalism before they arrived on an airbase. They were relatively innocent and open-minded, and yet they rose to the challenge of the enormous contradictions and difficulties they faced with stoicism and inner strength. It is essential to understand that for the whole 1941 period of the action of Girlfriends, most people in Britain inwardly believed they were outgunned and outnumbered and that they were heading for a crushing defeat. And so it was their mental attitude, alongside their military courage and improvisation, that must have pulled them through as much as anything else.

Rates and Fees

Education and Community Theatre Rates.

Rehearsal Materials

Special conditions apply. Please contact us for further information.

Orchestral Materials

Special conditions apply. Please contact us for further information.

Royalty Fees

Special conditions apply. Please contact us for further information.

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