The New Vic Theatre open their spring season with April De Angelis’ Playhouse Creatures, the first play in their season of work focused around empowerment to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.

On stage from Friday 2 – Saturday 24 February, this new production of Angelis’ vivacious drama celebrates a bold moment in the history of modern theatre, going backstage in a Restoration playhouse to tell the story of women being permitted to act on stage for the first time. Exploring the relationships between four female pioneers of the stage as they negotiate their new-found fame, and strive for equality in the playhouse, the story is full of bawdy comedy, theatrical flair and emotional poignancy.

It’s 1663 and Charles II reopens the Playhouses and for the first time, allows women to take to the stage. For four women, this signals the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. On stage, the women become household names; behind-the-scenes, they develop strong friendships and fierce rivalries. As the camaraderie and chaos of the dressing room ignites their ambitions to play a bigger part in the theatre, can the women stick together to negotiate greater roles? And will their new-found fame bring with it better fortunes?

The cast features familiar New Vic faces, Rebecca Brewer (Widowers’ Houses, New Vic Theatre; The Threepenny Opera, National Theatre; Relative Values, West End;) as Mrs Farley; Hannah Edwards (Beryl, Kiss Me Quickstep, New Vic Theatre; Horniman’s Choice, Finborough Theatre) as Nell; Anna Kirke (Seeing The Lights, The Ladykillers, New Vic Theatre; Abigail’s Party, London Classic Theatre) as Doll; and Polly Lister (The Snow Queen, New Vic Theatre; Great Expectations, Derby Theatre) as Mrs Betterton.

New Vic newcomers Danielle Henry (The Hypocrite, RSC; B!rth, Royal Exchange Theatre; Katy, BBC) as Mrs Marshall; and George Howard (The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Greenwich Theatre; The Comedy of Errors, UK tour) as Otway complete the cast.

Newly appointed New Vic Associate Director, Zoë Waterman, whose recent work includes Sleeping Beauty (Theatr Clywd), The Rubenstein Kiss (Nottingham Playhouse) and The Kitchen Sink (New Vic Theatre) will direct the production.

Playhouse Creatures finished 24 February 2018.

Playhouse creatures rehearsals
Playhouse Creatures rehearsals, Pic by Andrew Billington


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