So-Called Gen Z
Book and lyrics by Rachel Bellman
Music and lyrics by Josh Bird
‘The average attention span of a Generation Z-er is 8 seconds; down from 12 seconds for their millennial counterparts.’
’83 per cent of 11 – 19 year olds say that they’re more ambitious than their parents.’
‘99 per cent of 16 – 18 year olds say happiness is “being true to myself”.’
So-Called Gen Z is a new musical about teenagers today, created with and for them. It’s about what goes on both inside and outside our heads. That argument with your friend that you can’t stop reliving? That advice from your mum that keeps popping into your head even when you don’t want it? Who says it’s not as real as anything that happens in the ‘real world’?
The show follows a group of teenagers over the course of one hour. One of them, Dani, has just been declared missing. No one knows where Dani has gone, and so Dani is only there inside their minds. So-Called Gen Z explores identity, isolation, and ambition. It’s about how you see yourself vs how other people see you, both in real life and online. It’s about feeling lost. It’s about whether it’s possible to make a difference in the world.
So-Called Gen Z was developed through a series of weekly workshops with a group of teenagers doing Saturday drama sessions at Pauline Quirke Academy, Sutton. Working with director Grace Taylor, we developed the piece using the weekly workshops, discussions and verbatim exercises that tackled the themes of identity and isolation that we wanted to explore. We deliberately wrote the characters so they could be played by actors of any gender, while at the same time tailoring them to the specific group of teenagers taking part.
The workshops led to a short run at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, directed by Grace Taylor and Ellie Coote. During the run, the show was selected for Historical Preservation by the Fringe Performance Archive of the National Library of Scotland.