Girl E - the third play in the Blade Trilogy

Girl E by Clifford Oliver
Girl E

Girl E by Clifford Oliver, commissioned by British Transport Police

From gangster's moll to the honey in the honey trap, young women have always been involved in gang crime. Some are willing participants, others may see little or no alternative. Whether we see them as victims or perpetrators, many of these women experience unimaginable levels of physical and sexual violence.


Girl E is the third play in Arc's acclaimed Blade Trilogy, following Boy X and Pact, written by Clifford Oliver and originally directed by Carole Pluckrose. It looks at the increasing number of young women who are becoming involved in gang activity, through the story of a 16 year-old girl who has experienced neglect, abuse and unspeakable degradation in her short life. With little parental support or guidance, she has found society in street gangs, reflecting the violence of her upbringing by committing violent acts against others. At a point in her life when she seeks to finally take control and change, can we offer her the support to do so?

We stand or we fall by our choices
For better for worse, as they say.
And the road that I took
May not be by the book,
But I hope to step off it one day...

Girl E in rehearsals Girl E in rehearsals Girl E in rehearsals

Girl E in rehearsals Girl E in rehearsals Girl E in rehearsals

Girl E cast in rehearsals and performing in Barking & Dagenham schools, with actors Jordan Barrett, Lilly Driscoll, Peyvand Sadeghian and Natalie DaCosta

Images by Theresa Snooks

Girl E cast performing in Barking & Dagenham schools

Girl E
began touring to London schools and colleges in November 2011, funded by British Transport Police. This was followed by a tour of Barking & Dagenham Schools funded by the local Community Safety Partnership via the Metropolitan Police Authority. On 10 November, BTP hosted a Gala evening at Arc's studios at The Malthouse in Barking, featuring the play followed by a lively panel discussion with a diverse invited audience including police officers, local authority representatives, young people, parents, teachers and members of the wider community.

'Girl E' Panel discussion

Commander Sue Fish OBE chairing the Girl E discussion with Panel Member DCS Martin Fry of British Transport Police, with questions from the audience

Images by Theresa Snooks


“This hard-hitting play shows the consequences of gang cultures and gives young people the ability to make informed decisions about how and why girls are involved in gangs and violence.

“We aim, through an open discussion with the audience, to change the views of young women and girls and prevent them from becoming involved in gangs, sexual exploitation and violence.
Inspector Tom Naughton, British Transport Police


The BTP tour of Girl E followed soon after a cross-government report published by the Home Secretary Theresa May, focusing on ending gang and youth violence. Actions set out in the report include; preventing young people becoming involved in violence in the first place with a new emphasis on early intervention and prevention, which research has shown is the most cost-effective way of reducing violence in later life.

Research from which Girl E stemmed, provided by British Transport Police 2011:

  • Criminal offences by girls aged 10 to 17 years have increased by 25% in the past three years, whilst violent offences have shot up by 50%
  • 1 in 4 violent attacks now involve a female and the number of young women carrying weapons is increasing year on year
  • Underage sex and a rise in teenage pregnancy are widespread and accepted within gang affected areas
  • Victimisation and violent/sexual crimes are rarely disclosed due to the fear and risk associated with seeking help
  • Sexual violence, violence against woman and issues of gender stereotyping and exploitation are so widespread and ingrained that girls are not aware of being victims

Girl E does not make any attempt to answer the questions that result from girls involved with gangs and violent crime, but rather invites its young audiences into an experience, which presents a set of complex decisions. The play and follow-up discussions (up to 90 minutes in total) are ideally suited for Years 8 to 10 (audience numbers limited to 120 per performance).

Download Girl E Briefing Document (PDF, 448k)

Download Girl E Evaluation for Barking & Dagenham Police (PDF, 751k)

To find out how to book in your area or for more information about The Blade Trilogy, email Nita Bocking.

About the Blade Trilogy

Arc’s Blade Trilogy, written by Clifford Oliver and originally directed by Carole Pluckrose, represents a journey of work exploring some of the most hard-hitting issues affecting young people, the community and our society today.

From youth violence and gang crime, to loyalty, trust and abuse, each play has been developed through talking with young people about their personal experiences. Each performance and workshop programme for ages 12+ offers an opportunity to explore difficult themes in a safe space. The play is followed by a lively discussion where young people are offered a safe forum to talk about their feelings, fears and the complex pressures they experience.

Find out about the first in the series Boy X by Clifford Oliver, and the second in The Blade Trilogy, Pact by Clifford Oliver commissioned by BTP

Move over flyer for reverse...

The Blade Trilogy




Arc recommends you visit: Fearless - an independent UK Charity, Fearless is part of Crimestoppers which runs the 0800 555 111 number, which you can call to give information about crime anonymously, or give information about crime online.  

For information for Community Safety Partnerships, Local Authorities, Criminal Justice Agencies and partners, download Girl E Briefing Document (PDF, 448k)

To talk about Girl E, The Blade Trilogy or Arc's work with vulnerable young men and women, call Nita Bocking at Arc on 020 8594 1095 or email