From the 5th to the 7th of December, a cast of students from the LEH senior school and Hampton High is performing a new play, ‘TEAM’ by Beattie Green, in the Jane Ross Theatre. As Beattie describes, ‘TEAM’ is a play “about women’s football away from the zoo: no lionesses, no caged animals, no hungry punters. This is the wild grassroots, all played out in a muddy field somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Without flashing lights, without stadiums, without online forums dissecting the relative weaknesses of “the women’s game”, as if it were a different game, a different ballpark. “


The play was written as part of Write the Girl, “ an LEH initiative between schools and theatre professionals to support playwrights in developing the meaningful stories our young women deserve… [so that] meaningful stories, suitable for large casts, that stretch, challenge and engage a generation of young women, often marginalised by a male-dominated canon, can take their place on the main stage.” It has been a wonderful project that has produced numerous empowering and entertaining scripts for female students with a passion for theatre, much like this one.


The stage is in traverse and, after many laborious hours, the amazing LEH tech team have also assembled toilet cubicles and a station (with a moving train!) to complement the artificial grass-covered floor. The set looks fantastic, as do the costumes - a light blue football kit with the characters’ surnames printed on the back. The ‘Loughton Laces’ have had a logo specially designed for the kit, and are of course sponsored by the ‘Write the Girl’ initiative.


The young playwright, Beattie Green, is currently studying at Cambridge University and has had plays performed at the National Theatre. “Interested in miscommunication and how language both makes and destroys us, Beattie’s work focuses especially on telling stories about women and queer people without tokenism.” 


Beattie recently came in to see the cast in the process of translating their vision into a reality. Having been asked about the play’s source of inspiration, Beattie said:


“Having played football for community teams since the age of 9, I have noticed that the football pitch is a bit like a stage. Especially as an adolescent, you live out a lot of both your most dramatic and your most subtle milestones on and around the pitch.  I was also drawn to the humour and drama of a team with such disparate characters all bundled together in one endeavour that can feel massive (like the World Cup) but actually be quite modest (a small tournament on a random field in Essex). I wanted to capture that very teenage, and very wonderful, feeling of everything being really dramatic, feeling like the floodlights are on you, unblinking. I think there's a lot of joy and tension and laughter in that. I hope that's what 'Team' has become!”


The cast and crew have had an amazing time rehearsing and preparing, and have gained real insight into the world of football and the many challenges of working as a team, despite a common interest. With guidance from Beattie, our incredible director Sophie Torrent, and also talented Fulham FC footballer, Georgia Heasman, the play is sure to be a hugely impactful, comedic and inspiring portrayal of friendship and perseverance in girl’s football.