Act Like a GRRRL

Founded in 2005 by Vali Forrister, Act Like a GRRRL is an annual four-week autobiographical writing program for girls aged 12-18 offering the space and support for young women to gain a public voice, work with professional female mentors in a variety of creative fields, and foster friendships with peers from diverse backgrounds. Rooted in the exercise of writing to articulate one's personal experiences and beliefs, the program is augmented by guest artist workshops in performance, dance, and multicultural studies and ends in a performance by the GRRRLs themselves.



2018 Program Dates & Details - Nashville:

ALAG Nashville is a summer intensive running June 4-23, 2018.

Week One is a stay-away camp that begins on Friday and ends the next Friday, at Golden Wings Retreat Center in Bon Aqua, TN.

Week Two is daily rehearsals, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 20-23, at Belmont Black Box Theater.

Performances are June 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Belmont Black Box Theater.

Tuition for the full program is $1250. A few need-based scholarships are available. Mark your calendar for Friday, February 16, 2018 for The Vagina Monologues (a benefit for GRRRL scholarships) at City Winery.

Tickets to the final performance are $15.

Apply for the 2018 Nashville, TN program here.


2018 Program Dates & Details - Washington D.C.:

Act Like a GRRRL NoVa!

ALAG-NoVa is on hiatus for Summer, 2018 while we research ways to be a more effective voice to empower women and girls in the Washington, D.C. area.

If you are a theater maker in the D.C. area and are interested in being involved as an ALAG facilitator, please contact us ( to find out about training opportunities.



Scholarship Fundraiser - The Vagina Monologues

Mark your calendar for Friday, February 16, 2018 for The Vagina Monologues (a benefit for GRRRL scholarships) at City Winery.

Announcing Act Like a Big GRRRL 2018!

Next Session of Act Like a Big GRRRL (open to women 21 and older) starts January 20 - March 25, 2018. Contact Vali to apply.

s Act Like a GRRRL Goes Global!!!

On March 8, 2011, thirteen of the grrrls of ALAG were featured performers at the inaugural gala of Día Internacional de las Mujeres (1911-2011 Centenario) organized by ACTUA MUJER and the Vice-ministerio de Juventud de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. Groups from Norway, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and other countries took part in this festival to empower women and girls worldwide. Events were scheduled from March 6-8, culminating with the Act Like a GRRRL performance. Read more here!

Act Like a Big GRRRL at the Tennessee Prison for Women through LIFE

In August 2009, Vali Forrister began a pilot project with students in the Lipscomb Initiative for Education (LIFE) at the Tennessee Prison for Women (TPW). Dr. Richard Goode, director of Lipscomb's LIFE program, invited Vali to adapt her popular Act Like a GRRRL program for a diverse group of adult women comprised of 14 inmates, 2 students from the main Lipscomb campus and one TPW corrections officer.

"I am overwhelmed by the power of the stories I've witnessed. As these women write about the pain they've known, the lessons they've learned and the hope they've got for the future, I am humbled and awed," Vali said. "I'm also reminded that there is nothing more powerful than finding your voice and speaking your truth out loud in a supportive environment. Act Like a GRRRL has provided that space for teenage girls for more than five years. It's rewarding to know that the program can be just as mind-blowing and transformational with a circle of adult women from very diverse backgrounds."

Vali's collaboration with LIFE will culminate in a two-hour performance at the Tennessee Prison for Women on December 5, 2009. If you would like to attend, please email for details prior to November 16. All audience members will have to pass a background check and must pass through security checkpoint at TPW to attend this event.

Act Like a GRRRL in the News: - Act Like a GRRRL
Her Nashville - Act Like a GRRRL
Actors Bridge - Act Like a GRRRL
You Tube - Act Like a GRRRL
Cake Crush - Act Like a GRRRL

Act Like a GRRRL Blog:

Buy Tickets:

If you'd like to see the show schedule and buy tickets to the next performance of Act Like a GRRRL, click here.


Who’s behind Act Like a GRRRL?

VaLi FoRRiSTeR . (founder)

Vali Forrister is a GRRRL who is the producing artistic director for Actors Bridge Ensemble and the creator of Act Like a GRRRL. Vali's graduate training is in the performance of personal narratives as a means of personal and social change. A professional actor, director, producer and writer for the last 13 years, her work has been recognized by the local press as being “a tour-de-force,” and “seemingly effortless, ““consistently excellent,” “major league” and “a lesson on the acting craft without revealing that craft.”

Vali is often a featured speaker for organizations that work to end violence against women because of her personal journey from rape to wholeness. She is a recent recipient of the Women Mentoring Women Award from Vanderbilt University and finalist in the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund for the advancement and empowerment of women.

As a playwright, Vali has received high praise for her work. ORDINARY HEROES (co-written with Jeff Obafemi Carr) received a Tennessee Historic Commission 2008 Merit Award. Other writing credits include FAITH/DOUBT (world premiered at Actors Bridge in 2006) and an adaptation of TROJAN WOMEN (premiered at Actors Bridge in 2004). Vali is currently working on a new play entitled NOT FROM AROUND HERE about the experiences of immigrants and refugees in Nashville (sponsored by a Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission grant).

. (co-leader)

Heather Talley received a Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis in Women's and Gender Studies from Vanderbilt University. Heather has won teaching awards including the university wide graduate instructor award at Vanderbilt University. As a teacher, she employs sociology to help her students articulate, share and transform their life experiences, which is ultimately what she also does as an Act Like a GRRRL co-leader. Her writings on topics as wide ranging as philanthropy, disability, and romance have been published in a range of edited volumes and academic journals. She is an editorial collective member of the journal Feminist Teacher. Currently, she is writing a work of creative nonfiction and preparing her dissertation for publication. Heather has served as an ALAG co-leader since 2006.


ALAG is made possible by the generous contributions of many individuals as well as the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Predators Foundation.
To share a donation to help a teen grrrl, click here.