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The Beauty Manifesto

The Beauty Manifesto

Written by Nell Leyshon, Directed by Kim Hackleman

The Beauty Manifesto is set in a world of extreme physical conformity. Teenagers celebrate their sixteenth birthdays with cosmetic surgery. But in a world where difference is unacceptable and there is no excuse for imperfection, can someone find the strength to be the exception and the courage to be themselves?

The play was performed on 23 -25 April 2014 by our Acting Out group.

Acting Out is the Belgrade’s groundbreaking, work-related learning programme that works with young people who are not achieving their full potential within the mainstream education system. It provides them with an opportunity to participate in drama, dance and performing arts business activities based at the theatre.

A Directors Note from Kim Hackleman:

In the world of The Beauty Manifesto, Sky tells the birthday people: “The companies create thoughts which creep in your mind and infect you, until you feel so bad about yourself you have to have the procedures”. While we do not live in a society that requires us to have cosmetic surgery on our 16th birthday, teenagers today face incredible pressures to conform to beauty standards that are unachievable.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) holds the most current plastic surgery statistics on teenagers: In 2010, 8,500 breast augmentations were performed on 18-19 year olds and 13,500 male breast reduction procedures were performed on boys aged 13-19. In 2012, 236,356 cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on 13-19 year olds.
Last Thursday it was reported that the annual survey carried out by anti-bullying charity, Ditch The Label, quizzed teenagers across the UK on a wide range of topics to do with bullying. It found more than half of the teenagers who responded felt they had been bullied about their appearance. One in two went on to say they wanted to change how they look, with 56% saying they wanted to lose weight, nearly one in five wishing they could have breast implants and 5% wanting Botox. The survey found teens as young as 13 are adding liposuction and breast implants to their wish lists.
As a society, wouldn’t it be great to turn down the volume on the loud, slick, airbrushed images that we are bombarded with and focus instead on dialogue with our young people? Perhaps starting with stories of nature, friendship, and self-determination.

You can Meet the Cast in the short video found here.

See below some of our audiences reactions to The Beauty Manifesto