BFI logo











Screenonline banner
KS3 Citizenship: Alternative Fringe (1993)

How might students have handled this everyday situation differently?

Main image of KS3 Citizenship: Alternative Fringe (1993)
Author Poppy Simpson
TopicResolving conflict
Curriculum links NC KS3 Citizenship
Curriculum linksNC KS3 Biology

An anxious young woman finds herself regretting her visit to the hairdressers in this animated short that uses a cruel observational style.

This short film pokes fun at the 'everywoman' who is unable to assert herself in everyday situations. In this scene she emerges from the hairdresser with less hair and less money, having failed to stand up to a domineering stylist. While the emotional trauma of a bad haircut will be more familiar to girls than boys, the film is a good starting point for considering how to assert yourself positively and resolve difficult or potentially difficult situations.



After watching the clip, ask students to note down the adjectives they associate with the three characters in the film. These should feed into a class discussion which can be steered using simple questions: Did you find it funny? Why? Did you sympathise with the woman having her hair cut? Have any of you been in a similar situation?

How might students rewrite the scene to allow for a more positive outcome? Ask students to work in small groups or pairs to develop a short piece of dialogue between two of the characters, in which they deal considerately with each other. After this, ask the groups to think about how they might have reacted in a similar situation. Can they generate any suggestions about how the woman might have made a polite complaint before leaving the hairdressers?

Finally, draw pupils attention to the very last shot of the film, in which the woman is rude to the person standing next to her at the bus stop. Have they ever behaved badly towards someone on account of their bad mood? Those who wish to could share their experiences before considering why the filmmaker chose to include that final shot. Encourage pupils to think about the dangers of not resolving conflict as it emerges.


Some more ideas

  • Ask students to storyboard their own short animated film on an A4 sheet, challenging them to mimic the observational style of Alternative Fringe but using a different story about a difficult situation involving miscommunication.
Video Clips
Extract (2:44)

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Alternative Fringe (1993)Alternative Fringe (1993)

Read more about this film

See also

Thumbnail image of KS2 PSHE and English: An Alternative Fringe (1993)KS2 PSHE and English: An Alternative Fringe (1993)

This short animation forms the basis for a formal letter writing activity