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Girl You Want - BATS Theatre

Girl You Want
BATS Theatre
Written and performed by Tessa Mitchell
Directed by Prue Cunningham and Chris Jannides

AUCKLAND '80s WILD-CHILD RETURNS TO WELLINGTON – Strong, graceful and compelling. Girl You Want is a multi-media examination of memory, teenage rebellion, and female rites of passage.

Tessa Mitchell is back! She returns to Wellington following success with award-winning Fringe hit I Wanna Be Na Nah Na Nah Nah. Girl You Want weaves tales of writer / performer Mitchell’s turbulent teenage years in ‘80s Auckland into a frank and revealing one woman show. Girl You Want premiered at Auckland’s Basement theatre in 2016 and then played at La Mama Theatre Melbourne in 2017; both seasons won critical and audience success.
“Tessa's open-hearted warmth and relaxed, frank expression is effortlessly captivating and highly entertaining.” – Theatreview 2016.
Girl You Want is personal and unapologetic. It is a roller-coaster ride through Auckland's ‘80s underground scene as seen through the eyes of 17 year-old, Pakeha wild-child, Tess. Mitchell cleverly plays both herself and a cast of 10 colourful characters; Cousin Queenie, the sleaze Gringo, stuck-up Mrs Adams, and drug dealer Jerrybeans all make an appearance. An eclectic soundtrack, compiled by Auckland-based multimedia artist Ben Holmes, and a backdrop of intimate images from Mitchell’s past add texture to Tess’s journey. Girl You Want is a frank exposé culminating abruptly in a crisis that ultimately changes the trajectory of young Tess’s life.

Mitchell has a richly diverse background as a writer and performer for stage and screen. After graduating from Melbourne’s VCA in 1993, Mitchell had early successes with solo performances on both sides of the Tasman. She won best solo street artist for her character Diva Doona in Melbourne's Moomba festival (1994). In collaboration with musician and partner Ben Holmes, she created I am a Dark River which toured New Zealand’s fringe theatres.

Co-directors Chris Jannides (Darc Swan and Toi Whakaari) and Prue Cunningham (Luminary Pictures) have collaborated with Mitchell to create this multi-media examination of memory, teen experience, and female rites of passage.

Girl You Want explores themes of breaking from family, brushes with danger, and the quest to forge an individual identity as an adult. The emotional journey of Mitchell's story runs the gamut: frivolous and funny, to petrifying and poignant. Her characters swing from spunky bravado to child-like naivety. They remind us all of the familiar, crazy hormonal shifts of adolescence; the opposing combination of strength and vulnerability it takes to be human.

“The resilience of human spirit I developed during those years of risk-taking is something I still carry with me today. Now that I am a parent myself, reflecting on some of the dangerous situations I ended up in is much more complicated. Particularly when I look at my own daughter’s approaching puberty, a shiver runs up my spine.” – Mitchell.

“Hopefully there’s a sequel, because on the strength of this, Mitchell has plenty of material to work with and the talents to craft it into something both exciting and poignant.” – Theatrescene 2016.

Girl You Want is a compact Fringe show not to be missed - running for 3 nights only.

Girl You Want, 9-11 March 2018, 7pm, Heyday Dome, BATS Theatre. Tickets: $14-$20 available from

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