Parramatta Girls Background

Parramatta Girls Background

Parramatta Girls is playwright Alana Valentine's dramatization of the testimony of the girls imprisoned at the Girls Training School in Parramatta. The play frames the story as a reunion between eight of the inmates of the "school" nearly 40 years after the "school" closed. In the reunion, the women reminisce about how hard life was back then (as it was hard for the women who endured the school in real life). They talk about the violent rapes and torture and overall terrible treatment the guards gave them. They also talk about escape attempts, a riot, and attempts to remedy their feelings.

The Parramatta Girls home actually existed in Australia. Opened in 1887, it later closed in 1974 and was investigated by the Australian Senate in 2004. Later, in 2009, the Australian Prime Minster issued an apology to the women interned there.

Upon release, Parramatta Girls was met with solid, albeit unspectacular reviews. On book review aggregator, it holds a rating of 3.42 out of 5 stars. However, its debut performance garnered rave reviews for how it portrayed the stories of the women stuck in Parramatta. Those who liked the play called it "joyous and heartbreaking... stirring tribute to mischief and humour in the face of hardship and inequality." Those who didn't as much criticized how the play feels overly constructed and how the dialogue feels unnatural and not authentic and not easy to believe.

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