Bands like One Direction – as the The Beatles did before them – command such passionate followings they can fill stadium after stadium with screaming fans. In the age of the Internet such fandom has only become more intense. “People push fans to the side and judge them because they think they’re unrealistic, or that they’re living in a fantasy world, but actually their collective power is huge and they can achieve anything,” Paige Rattray tells me between rehearsals for the new musical she’s directing, called Fangirls. “They’re such a powerful force, and that’s something that we celebrate in this show.”

The show, with book, music and lyrics by Yve Blake, is currently in previews at Queensland Theatre, where it opens later this week, before moving to Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre in October. It tells the story of 14-year-old Edna – played by Blake herself – who is in love with Harry, a singer in the biggest boy band in the world, True Connection. The show evolved out of Blake’s research into fangirls, and – as she outlines in a TEDx talk, Why are...

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