Caryl Churchill: Top Girls

(3330 words)
  • Bonnie Melchior (University of Central Arkansas)

In an interview early in her career, Caryl Churchill stated that “playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions,” and indeed her widely anthologized play Top Girls is neither didactic nor doctrinaire. It is sometimes called an example of “materialist feminism,” but varied critical responses testify to the fact that the play follows no “party line.” Critic Jane Thomas, for instance, says her plays are not “political stratagems for change in fields of class and gender,” but are rather “politically provocative critiques of society.”

The play opened at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982 soon after Churchill’s extremely successful Cloud Nine. It got mixed reviews and had enough success for …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Melchior, Bonnie. "Top Girls". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 September 2004
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]