Playwright Claire Gaydon reveals how Britney Spears inspired her to explore issue of data protection

Claire Gaydon was inspired by Britney Spears to write about data protection in her new play.
The London-based playwright has written and stars in 'Piece of Me' - which is named after the pop megastar's 2007 hit about the pitfalls of being famous - at the Camden People's Theatre in London and explained that the whole idea came about after discovering just how personal data is handled in the modern world.
She told BANG Showbiz: "Back in 2019 I learnt that according to data protection law, if you request footage of yourself from the owner of any CCTV
camera they have to give it to you. I decided to do an experiment where I walked around London, miming the lyrics to
Britney’s song 'Radar', and then requested the footage so I could make a kinda arty music video. I chose 'Radar' because
the lyrics are about watching someone (and it's also an underrated banger!).
"Less than 50% of the camera owners I approached for the footage adhered to data protection law and that got me thinking and researching about how our data is handled, and privacy in general. "
In the play, Claire plays a version of herself in scenes with her school friends as they form a pop band in an attempt to emulate their idol but has recently developed a "newfound appreciation" for her anonymity as she explored her own concerns regarding the rise of facial recognition in society.
She said: "Watching the video back, I also started to think about how when I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be a famous pop star like Britney. But now, seeing everything that Britney went through I have a newfound appreciation for my privacy and anonymity. For me, privacy invasion on UK citizens can feel intangible, it’s hard to explain and understand.
"Privacy invasion on celebrities on the other hand is something we all know about. So I figured if I could marry the two together in the show, I
could offer a different perspective on it."
As part of the play - which features one of Britney's signature tracks - Claire has incorporated the original version of her own pop songs she and her friends wrote when they were at school together and they are executed as a series of high-energy dance numbers.
Claire also noted that nostalgia features heavily in the piece as she recalled "relating" to the 'Toxic' hitmaker as soon as she hit the charts with her debut single.
She said: "I was eight years old when Britney’s '...Baby One More Time' came out and I just remember thinking it was a really big
deal. There was such a buzz around it and it felt so exciting. I think something about the fact that the video was set in a
school and it looked like she was having so much fun - and I guess I felt like it could be me and my friends in that video.
She felt relatable.
"I think recording artists and music in general hits you differently when you’re a teenager. It’s such a pivotal time of
exploration and discovery, and the music you listen to can feel like a big part of that. There was a Forbes article recently
by a psychologist explaining the mental health benefits of music nostalgia. I can definitely relate to that!"
'Piece of Me' runs at the Camden People's Theatre in London until June 1.
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