Alison A Addo Talks … School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play

Written by the award-winning writer/performer Joycelyn Bioh …

School Girls; or The African Mean Girls Play, set in 1986 at Ghana’s prestigious Aburi Girls boarding school follows Queen Bee Paulina and her crew excitedly awaiting the arrival of a Miss Ghana pageant recruiter. With Paulina obviously set to the title things are thrown into disarray when her place is threatened by Ericka – a beautiful and talented new transfer student. 

We spoke to one of the cast Alison A Addo about her role in the play …

Please introduce yourself …

Alison A Addo, I’m an Actor and I’m from Staffordshire Oi Oi.

Why School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play?

Because as a black female actor roles like this are truly like gold dust, an absolute dream and the team around it are like next level. I said yes as no was not an option. My Agent called me and was basically like the role we have Been waiting for has arrived.

Tell us about your character and what their goal is in the play … 

I play Headmistress Francis – She is a mother to these girls, she truly loves them all and the school. She is exhausted; lonely and there is a sadness to her. But don’t get twisted you don’t play with her.

Tell us about working with your fellow cast …

This is one of the safest spaces I have ever worked in, I genuinely mean that. The care and love I have for the cast I know is reciprocated. As performers each and everyone of the girls are so giving and so open and honestly simply just kind. Monique (director) is the Don and the Lyric really are extremely supportive to all involved.

What does the story of School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play mean to you personally?

That we are all beautiful whatever shade we are and the European/western standard should never ever be a thing. Love yourself and love others for who they are. The standard that is set out is not real life.

L-R Deborah Alli, Alison A Addo. School Girls Or The African Mean Girls Play. Image Credit: Manuel Harlan

Tell us about a challenging moment during this project that you had to dig deep to get through?

The end of part 3 with Paulina *(Tara) – The experience I had as a child of not liking my beautiful black skin and wanting to be white. I grew up in a predominantly white area and the battle of being the only black girl in school was mad hard and the racism was deep. Trying to change my skin colour was a personal thing I felt I should do in order to be accepted.

Tell us a memorable moment working on this?

So far it has to be the active read through in week 1, it completely changed my view of the show and how the wonderful Jocelyn had written it, you have to be crazy talented to be able to address all these issues and make it humorous aswell. Jocelyn is a vibe.

Which scene best defines what you love about this project?

I think part 3 is just an emotional rollercoaster for every character. You have characters finding strength, telling their truth, breaking from their usual persona. Its crazy but truly gorgeous at the same time.

Were you a mean girl or a good girl in school? Favourite school memory?

I was a floater as I went to 3 secondary schools. Did I love school? Not really, as I did feel on my own a lot of the time. Favourite memory at school was netball, I’m 5ft 10 and was fast, you know I smashed that.

Considering your career evolution, where does this project sit on your checklist?

Errr, I’m performing at the Lyric, getting directed by the revolutionary Monique, in a play based on my heritage, it’s a big deal and I’m honestly truly humbled and proud to work on this. Like come on who wouldn’t?

What’s next?

A holiday, nah seriously I’m not sure, but I’m 100% excited about what it will be. I just love to give and create and always, always up for an adventure.

How do we keep up to date with you and your work?

@alisonaaddo_actor – Instagram

School Girls; Or The African Mean Girls play runs Thursday 08 June – Saturday 15 July 2023 @ Lyric Hammersmith


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