Looking for Lilith Theatre Company (LFL) is an ensemble theatre company that creates original productions and programming by examining history and questioning today from women’s perspectives, thereby lifting up unheard voices. The Norton Foundation has for the past five years supported a wonderful program called GirlSpeak.

Compelled by research that suggests girls’ self-esteem plummets after age 12, LFL created GirlSpeak, a program for late-elementary, middle and high school girls. LFL wanted to create a space for girls to experience a positive sense of community, discover their voices and create a meaningful artistic expression of what’s important to them.

Since 2014, LFL has gathered middle school girls in a two-week summer camp. LFL teaching artists lead the girls through the process of building a theatrical ensemble and creating an original play about a topic chosen by the girls. On the last day of camp the girls perform a staged reading of the play for their families and friends. GirlSpeak has expanded to include partnerships with Adelante Hispanic Achievers, and an afterschool program at Backside Learning Center and Western Middle School for the Arts.

During the GirlSpeak process the girls learn and practice essential 21st century skills such as creativity, collaboration, respectful communication and creative problem solving. At a time in their lives when few take them seriously, these young women articulate who they are and what is important to them.

The Norton Foundation loves how the girls use art to express their thoughts and feelings. The impact is powerful.