by  Kieron Barry

Short Play, Dark Comedy  /  4f

Mean Girls meets Lord of the Flies. This brutal and hilarious one-act comedy, set in an all-girls' boarding school, depicts a vicious battle of wills between four Sixth Form girls in the hour before a new Head Girl is announced.

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

  • Duration


    60 minutes (1 hour)
  • SubGenre


    Not Applicable
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This brutal and hilarious one-act play was declared one of the greatest plays of all time for women in Lucy Kerbel’s volume 100 Great Plays For Women. Set in an all-girls’ boarding school, Numbers depicts a vicious battle of wills between four Sixth Form girls in the hour before a new Head Girl is announced. As the girls vie for the coveted position, old friendships and loyalties give way to ambition and betrayal. Nothing is too extreme in a battle which increasingly proves less about the disputed role and more about how the girls’ conflicting ideologies of class, privilege and morality will affect the rest of their lives.

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  • In 2009 Kieron Barry was nominated for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards. He
    was also made a Norman Mailer Fellow.



“Clever, fast-paced, witty and caustic… well-crafted and wonderfully funny.” – Time Out London

“A wonderfully crafted, well-constructed and deftly thought-out piece of theatre” – The Stage, London

“Anyone who has ever set foot in an all-girls school will recognise the noxious combination of competition, self-interest, insecurity and downright viciousness that Kieron Barry displays with such devastating accuracy in Numbers, and while the play is laugh-out-loud funny, it remains a testament to the ferocity of girls and their own particular brand of warfare against one another... Sharp and funny, terrifying and inspiring, it is an impressive account of the cruel sophistication, wit and savagery with which young women can destroy one another.” – 100 Great Plays For Women, Lucy Kerbel


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 60 minutes (1 hour)
  • Setting:

    An English boarding school. School uniforms may be worn if wished.

  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)




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Cast Attributes

  • All Female
  • Ensemble cast
  • Roles for Teens

Casting Notes

The play takes place in the summer term when all four characters are reaching the end of their Lower Sixth year. Thus they are around 16 or 17 years old, and about to start their final year of school before university.



Kieron Barry

Kieron Barry was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. His plays include the verbatim drama Stockwell, which enjoyed two sell-out runs in London in 2009. It was described by The Times in its five-star review as 'more gripping than anything else to be seen in the London theatre' and by the Daily Express as 'stark, stunning... de ...

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Numberpremiered at the Landor Theatre in London in 2005.

Its US premiere took place at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in New York in 2007.

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