Paris Osborne, 26, wrote the play ‘Flow’ to highlight important topics such as period poverty, spiking, and sexual assault.
Paris trained at the Arden School of Theatre and worked for a while trying to get noticed until she began to write her material. Paris has already written a play called “A Salford love story”, which was performed at Salford Arts Theatre.
Her new play ‘Flow’ is a monologue written for Ere production company which she hopes will make women know there is support out there for them.
Paris has been working on the play for three years which took 19 drafts before she was satisfied with the result. “I have been working closely with women’s charities for research, the topics involved are very heavy, very current and quite touchy subjects.
I want to make sure I get it right and I don’t want to rush because the messages are so important and I’m hoping I’ll create real awareness.”
The play centers around four teenage girls who are going to a festival for the first time, and are super excited. During the festival, all four girls face very difficult situations including starting periods, getting spiked and sexual harassment.
“The play takes you on a journey with these girls, it highlights friendship and how important these topics are and makes you aware of them.”
Paris expressed her frustration at how much teenagers and young adults must go through especially young women on nights out. “Young adults shouldn’t have to go through the thought process of ‘what do I do if my drink gets spiked?’ We shouldn’t have to think like that.”
Paris talks about how she recently did a read-through of Flow with a group of girls from a drama school. All the girls felt that they were in a safe environment and were confident enough to say they had all experienced sexual harassment in some way.
“I’ve been very eager to write this because all my friends have been through it, every lady I know at some point has felt uncomfortable, scared or apprehensive. I hope this play encourages people to speak out, I hope it raises awareness about what you can do if these things happen to you. Men too, I find a lot of males sheltered from this subject. I hope this play makes them aware of the issues and they’re not oblivious if it happens to them.”
Paris opened up about running, and how she got into it up until a point where every time she went out something happened. “Even if it was a beep or someone shouting out their window, it’s really sad. I feel like I can’t go and run by myself because of that.”
Especially after tragic events like the murder of Sarah Everard, women are more scared and more frightened when going out. A play like Flow will hopefully shed light on these fears and magnify the experiences women go through and highlight why they’re scared to go out.
Paris created Flow as a dark comedy, “I want people to watch and not forget about it, I want them to think about it. That’s why dark comedy is so effective because you laugh at something and then after you feel guilty for laughing at it because you think oh, I shouldn’t have laughed at it.”
There’s a scene in the play where one of the girls has experienced sexual harassment, and her first reaction is ‘I was too drunk, it was my fault.’ She’s embarrassed. “This resonates with the true message of my play, come forward, don’t feel embarrassed know that there is support for you.”
The play also follows periods, with one of the girls experiencing her period for the first time.
“I feel that period poverty is such a big topic that isn’t heard or talked about.”
During Covid-19 when theatres were closed, Paris did teacher training and within that time was opened to a world not many are aware of. “I had a lot of girls in my form and classes who couldn’t afford menstrual products and would miss school because of it. Their parents would also be embarrassed to say.”
Through one conversation I was opened to a whole new world. I got all the girls in my class and asked them to leave a note in a box if they need any products and I would get it for them, by the end of the day there were 10 notes in the box out of 30 pupils.”
Period poverty is an important issue which many don’t want to speak about and are embarrassed to share. “Even in school, it’s embarrassing for girls to ask a teacher or to take a pad or tampon to the toilet. It’s a huge thing many don’t address.”
Paris has worked with women’s charities like The Stockport women’s centre, ‘Freedom4girls’ and ‘Stamp out Spiking’, whom she has worked with closely throughout the whole process and who have helped her as she wrote and developed the play.
At the end of the play, there will be lists of companies and charities you can go to and throughout the play bags will be given out with pads and tampons in and leaflets with advice too.
Paris is in the process of finding a director for the play at present. It needs to be someone suitable “the director is a big part, they put words to the stage. I want someone who is passionate and believes in the subjects being put on the stage.”
The actors will all be female, whom she wants to come from different & diverse backgrounds. Paris wants everyone to be able to relate to their characters. “With this play, I’m not saying the male perspective isn’t important, it just feels it will be a lot more effective with a full female cast. Throughout the play, I also highlight a lot of transgender issues, with a male perspective on how males are affected by it.”
Paris hopes that she can show the play to younger audiences, who the play aims to speak to. But also, parents and guardians need to know about this because everyone needs to be educated on this.
“I want to arrange school visits too, offering free tickets. If I’m not expecting women to afford period products, I can’t expect them to afford a theatre ticket.”
“This is a play for everyone, it has a nice ending. I’m nervous and excited for it, it’s the first full-length play I’ve had on but it’s something I’m passionate about.”
Paris hopes that Flow will be ready by October and to be shown to audiences in and around Salford and Manchester.