Top Girls


Caryl Churchill

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Top Girls can help.


The protagonist of the play, Marlene is a high-ranking official at the Top Girls Employment Agency in London, and, at the start of the action, has just received an important promotion. To celebrate, she convenes… read analysis of Marlene

Isabella Bird

Isabella Bird is a real-life, nineteenth-century English explorer, writer, and naturalist. Isabella is the only character at the dinner party who never bore children, and the only character whose work was honored in her lifetime… read analysis of Isabella Bird

Lady Nijo

Lady Nijo is a real-life, thirteenth-century concubine-turned-Buddhist-nun. Lady Nijo was raised from birth to live a life of sexual service to the Emperor—her own father gave her over to the Emperor, and instructed Nijo to… read analysis of Lady Nijo

Dull Gret

Dull Gret is the subject of Dulle Griet, a Flemish renaissance painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. The painting depicts Gret—an older woman clad in long skirts and battle armor—leading a group of women… read analysis of Dull Gret

Pope Joan

Pope Joan is a figure who, according to legend, disguised herself as a man in the Middle Ages and reigned as Pope for two years until her true identity was discovered. Pope Joan wanted power… read analysis of Pope Joan
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Patient Griselda

Patient Griselda is a figure from European folklore, most famously featured in the tales of Boccaccio and Chaucer. A peasant of humble origins, Patient Griselda was selected to marry a handsome, wealthy, and powerful Marquis… read analysis of Patient Griselda


Jeanine is a young woman who comes to the Top Girls Employment Agency for an interview with Marlene. Jeanine wants to make more money, as she is saving to get married and settle down… read analysis of Jeanine


Joyce is Marlene’s sister and Angie’s adoptive mother. Whereas Marlene is ambitious, self-serving, and cosmopolitan, Joyce is humble, giving, and rooted firmly in her small, working-class hometown. Joyce is not by any means… read analysis of Joyce


Joyce’s sixteen-year-old adoptive daughter Angie is odd, quiet, and stunted. She is a lonely girl, whose only friend, Kit, is four years younger than her. Angie expresses a keen desire to kill her… read analysis of Angie


Kit is a twelve-year-old girl who is a friend and neighbor of Angie’s. Though Kit is young, she is cruel and aggressive, and spars verbally and physically with Angie. Kit seems to feel coerced… read analysis of Kit


Louise is a woman who comes for an interview at the Top Girls Employment Agency with Win. She is forty-six, and Win describes her age as a “handicap.” Louise is frustrated in her current… read analysis of Louise

Mrs. Kidd

Mrs. Kidd is the wife of Howard Kidd, a man who works at the Top Girls Employment Agency. Mrs. Kidd comes to visit Marlene to beg for Marlene to refuse the promotion she’s… read analysis of Mrs. Kidd
Minor Characters
Nell is a young woman who works at the Top Girls Employment Agency. Gossipy and aspirational, Nell is happy for Marlene’s success, but nevertheless cannot stop plotting how she herself will manage to rise through the ranks of the corporate world.
Win is a young woman who works at the Top Girls Employment Agency. She is having an affair with one of her superiors, Howard, and seems more amused by than jealous of Marlene’s recent success at the agency.
Shona is a young woman who comes for an interview at the Top Girls Employment Agency with Nell and lies about almost everything on her resume, exaggerating her success and inflating her age in order to seem more worldly and successful.
Howard Kidd
Howard is Mrs. Kidd’s husband. Marlene beats him out for a promotion at Top Girls Employment Agency, which shatters Howard’s ego, as he can’t imagine being second in command to a woman.