Following its sell-out run at Shakespeare’s Globe, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s new play Emilia, directed by Nicole Charles, will transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre for a strictly limited season from 8 March to 15 June 2019.
Emilia Bassano was a writer, teacher, poet and mother said to have been ‘The Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets and one of literature’s first female voices – yet her story has gone untold for centuries until now.
In August 2017 Shakespeare’s Globe artistic director, Michelle Terry commissioned playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm to tell Emilia Bassano’s inspiring story. Weeks later, a female empowerment political movement swept across the Atlantic, uniting women to stand up and speak out, just like Emilia 400 years before.
The role of Emilia is played at different stages of her life by three actors who are part of a 17 strong all-female company playing both hers and hims. The cast includes Nadia Albina, Anna Andresen, Jackie Clune, Saffron Coomber, Jenni Maitland, Clare Perkins, Carolyn Pickles, Sarah Seggari, Sophie Stone, Charity Wakefield, Amanda Wilkin and Tanika Yearwood. Further casting is to be announced.
Artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, Michelle Terry, said:
“We all knew Emilia had an important story to tell and we had to commit to telling it, but an audience decides whether it’s a story worth hearing. We could not be more pleased or more proud that her story gets to be told and heard again and again, and continue a legacy of new plays being given the chance to become old plays because of popular demand.”
The producers of Emilia in the West End said “This is a fantastic new play, a brilliant production and one of the most powerful experiences we have ever had in a theatre. This is a show that could start a revolution! The opportunity to harness that feeling, bring the spirit of rebellion and this extraordinary company of women into the heart of the West End, is irresistible.
“With thousands of great seats available at £25 or less, our aim is to make it possible for a wide range of audiences to participate, be entertained and inspired.”
Through her poetry, Emilia Bassano recognised and paid tribute to the collective strength and support amongst women. In honour of this Emilia is presented in the West End by an all-female producing team: Eleanor Lloyd, Kate Pakenham, Nica Burns and Eilene Davidson.