Fin Kennedy's The Urban Girl’s Guide to Camping is a comedy about life, love and friendship once school is long gone. It was developed in collaboration with former students of the Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, East London, and first performed on 14 July 2010 at Southwark Playhouse, London. It was the fourth play to be developed by Kennedy with Mulberry School, and the first to premiere in London; the previous plays – Mehndi Night (2007), Stolen Secrets (2008) and The Unravelling (2009) – had all been premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
With university over, four young friends decide to leave the city behind and head into the wilderness in order to re-experience the trip of a lifetime. They head to Ashdown Forest, home of their childhood memories. However, an unexpected storm heralds the outpouring of a secret that threatens to tear their lives apart as the forest reveals a mystery all of its own.
In an author's note in the published edition, Kennedy explains how the development process for the play differed from previous Mulberry School collaborations: 'Rather than being developed through practical workshops with school-age students, Urban Girl was the result of a series of round-table discussions with a specially convened Advisory Committee of former Mulberry students (and some staff), mostly young women in their early twenties, either at university or starting careers. Rather than ‘training the group up’ as potential performers for the show, these meetings were much more of a discussion among equals about what this year’s play could be. ... For my part, I started with a provocation. I put it to the committee that representations of young British Asian women in our media were woefully lacking; they were either oppressed, exotic, or (occasionally) extremists – or the wives or sisters of extremists. This simply didn’t chime with anything I had experienced at Mulberry in the four years I had been there. We agreed to do something about it.'
The Southwark Playhouse production was directed by Luke Kernaghan and designed by Barbara Fuchs. It was performed by Rumi Begum, Rumina Kamal, Farzana Parvin and Sultana S. Jahan.