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A Northern Girl is unique.

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Leading up to the Northern Girls performances, Aidan, from ARCADE, is sitting down with each of the writers to find out a bit more about them, their work and what they might do next. Ariel Hebditch is the last of the four writers from the Northern Girls project.

If you would prefer to listen to this interview, please click the video above.

Hello, I'm Ariel Hebditch and I'm part of the Northern girls writing group.

Hi Ariel, just to get things started I’d like to hear about what kind of work you create and, how you define yourself as an artist.

Yeah okay so…

I really enjoy writing. And so far, like I've mostly written scripts, so I would say I was a script writer I guess, but I'm still in college at the minute and working towards my A levels, so it's just a really, really a sort of hobby on the side. And, yeah, so I'm, I don't know if like I would say I'm, I am an artist, per se, because, yeah, it's not something I currently do as like a career or anything like that.

I mean, you're making art. So, you know, I would argue you are an artist, but it's you know it's however you want to define it, that's fine.

I guess the first thing to find out is what the piece you're creating right now for Northern girls what has inspired that piece, and where is it, where does it come from?

Yeah, so the piece that I have created is based around the life of my best friend. So, she is from Yorkshire. She's a northern girl but her ethnicity is Chinese. So, her parents own a Chinese restaurant, and she works there as a waitress. And she was just telling me about the story of a customer who was really horribly rude to her and said some really offensive awful things. And as I was listening, of course, I was thinking, oh my god I can't believe this is happening you know, that this is real. But also, I was thinking this is the kind of story that needs to be told, you know, and I was really lucky because the northern girls writing group is the perfect medium to do that. And this is the story of a northern girl, a real northern girl. And, it needs to be told because I found it really shocking and I think yeah, it's something that needs to be said. So, I took that and the other experiences that she told me, and developed that into the script that will be performed.

Do you know who the actor is? Or has it been quite-

I don't, no.

Very interesting. Yeah, I mean sounds like a really interesting piece that you've written, and also blending the idea of what... I guess people have the misconception that a northern girl must be like a white, you know…


a specific type of person in the north I think it's good that you're, expanding on, on the idea.

Yeah, I agree. I think we sort of inevitably fall into these stereotypes and it might be, it might not be a story that someone a white person, or just any audience member would have considered, that they expected to see a guess. And hopefully, that will give the piece a little bit more impact.

Yeah, definitely. No, I think that's, I think that's great I think it’s really interesting. Then in terms of your process … I mean obviously you've been working with Hannah Davies to help create it. How have you gone about it? What is your writing process?

Yeah. Very good question.

Yeah, it's been really helpful and interesting to work with Hannah, and the rest of the girls in the group, because she comes up with some really creative ideas and methods, and we all explore those together. And it's a really good starting place to spark inspiration and to get those creative juices flowing I guess yeah and then we sort of take those ideas away, and then write the pieces ourselves. Um, yeah, in terms of my own personal creative process, the story kind of like takes over my life a little bit for a couple of days, like am I that is all I can think about, and I'll be like trying to go sleep in the middle of the night and go, ‘oh, would this be a great idea’. When it comes to actually writing it. I've sort of already got the story in the back of my brain, you know, and it's just about physically getting the words onto the page at that point. Yeah.

Very cool. I can, I can relate to the waking up the middle of the night and ‘you have to write this, or it will disappear’. That's really cool. So, what would you say about the whole process you've enjoyed the most?

Oh, I think I've, I've really enjoyed the people that I've met so, the writers who are from Scarborough. And also, Hannah and Rachel and all of the creative team. They're all so lovely and inspiring and great artists. And, yeah, it's been really nice to, sort of, meet them but also work with them creatively, getting feedback from Hannah on my pieces was something really beneficial and pretty exciting actually you know to have someone you know, like actually reading my work is, who is in the industry. So yeah.

Are there any, I mean I know I don't want to scare you with future but, are there any plans sort of what you want to do next or any area you want to go down next as a, as a writer?

Yeah, well, I'm currently applying for university. And I'm hoping to study English, so I think that will sort of put me in that kind of path, I guess. Yeah, I'm not, I'm not sure if I, if it's something I want to pursue I definitely enjoy it. It's something I'd love to pursue in an ideal world, but yeah, who knows what will happen, I guess. And, yeah, but I absolutely would love to try and do something like this in the future, I think, I find it really cathartic and fun to do. So, to make a living out of that would be incredible.

That's the dream.

Yeah, exactly.

Awesome, well I'll give you a little bit of time to think about this, because I think it might be difficult to solve on top of your head. But, what would you say a northern girl is to you?

Well, this is something we talked a lot about in the group and sort of breaking down the stereotypes that we often see in the media currently, and just in everyday life, you know? I think a northern girl, to me, is unique. She is strong, but she can also be weak. She is kind but she can also be angry. She is intelligent, but she can also be crazy and impulsive. I think that being a northern girl is something to celebrate. And I think we don't see that enough in the current media, because, like, a lot of people who have strong accents in films for example are always like the comedic characters comic relief. And they don't really have the arc that story like they're not the centre. And I think that's something that's been really great to work on during this process because it's bringing those voices forward and shining a spotlight on northern girls.

Yeah, I think that was a brilliant answer.

Is there anything that you'd want to talk about whether it's to your piece or sort of your writing that you'd like to be included in the in the blog?

I think it's important to mention this, I think, you know like, when I was thinking about writing this piece. I had a lot of internal conflict, because I'm a white person, and to write a piece from a Chinese British person's perspective. I was wondering you know should I be doing this? Is it right for me to tell the story? And I had a lot of debate about this and I want to stress that this is based on a real person. It's my best friend and she has told me all about her life and I've researched it and she's read the piece and she's hopefully going to come and watch the piece. And so, she she's heavily involved in the process and I want to try to avoid the stigma that I just like being insensitive or just coming up with this out of my brain. Obviously as a writer I've been trying to put myself in her shoes, and that is difficult, of course, but something that I found really quite liberating actually because to see the world from another person's perspective is really interesting and something, it's something that I possibly hadn't considered before in my regular life. So yeah, I thought I wanted to, I just want to make that clear that I've…, I’m trying to avoid the awful word of cultural appropriation. As much as I can. So yeah, I think that's important to get across.

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think, I think it definitely seems clear that from what you're doing. You're not appropriating someone's story, you're sort of uplifting someone's narrative and helping a narrative be heard, that usually is not heard very often, particularly when, when you think of this area, or even in theatre in general.

Exactly and thank you for saying that because I don't want it to come across as appropriation because it really is all about celebrating her and her life than just throwing a light on how awful sometimes people can be you know.

But yeah thanks for getting involved and. And I'll be on the show anywhere to see it so-

Oh great, good look forward to seeing you then.

Northern Girls, a collaboration between ARCADE and Pilot Theatre, will take place at the YMCA Scarborough on the 27th and 28th October. Click here for tickets and more information.

Image credit: Matthew Cooper

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