Ruth, Eva, Francoise and Minna were close friends living in London in the first quarter of this century. Their relationships with each other were strong, passionate and committed, and rather than being secondary to marriage and families, they formed, as Ruth put it, 'the foundation of their lives'. They were each other's 'dear girls', 'precious friends', 'dearest loves'. They sustained and supported each other through periods of heavy religious and family involvement, into the turmoil and excitement of the changes brought about by the first wave of feminism in the early I 900s.
The Women's Theatre Group have been given permission to use Ruth and Eva's diaries, letters and collections of articles, pamphlets and news¬paper cuttings. The material spans the years from 1897, when Ruth started her diary at thirteen, until 19 16, when the First World War, the end of the early women's movement, and Eva's sudden death, separa¬ted the group of women.
Ruth and Eva wrote profusely particularly in the early years of the century. The material, previously unavailable and unpublished, records in amazing detail their lives as working women and their struggle for independence against huge social pressures. They describe at first hand their relationships, life in their local communities and workplaces, national events and their increasing involvement in the meetings, ideas and campaigns of the feminist, socialist and pacifist movements.
DEAR GIRL is a dramatized version of some of the material. The play goes beyond documentary drama to build a creative picture of the women's lives. It is an innovatory piece of theatre, using music and different theatrical styles and uncovers a rare piece of women's history.