The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) today released images of Amber James as Landlady Liz Bridges in The Fair Maid of the West, alongside a first look inside the rehearsal room to meet the full company of actor musicians.
Isobel McArthur’s new adaptation of The Fair Maid of the West by Thomas Heywood will run in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from Saturday 2 December 2023 to Sunday 14 January 2024, with the Press Night on Tuesday 12 December
Liz Bridges is an Elizabethan landlady who might seem ordinary, but it turns out that a life spent lending ears, mending hearts and serving beers has all been in preparation for the ultimate test of her character…
Commenting on the production, Isobel McArthur said: “One thing that excited me about staging a version of The Fair Maid of The West is how much of the action takes places in pubs. These theatres of the human condition! Where we may choose to perform or be the audience and all of human life plays out. So often in portside public houses a carousel of remarkable eccentrics pass through the harbours and doorways, leaving lasting impressions on all those bearing witness. Of course, all are in search of something: shelter, sustenance, company, often love.
“With this in mind, we knew we needed a cast who could bring great humour and heart, including brilliantly funny multi-rollers with keen dramaturgical minds, possessing of a great facility for both language and music. Our whole ensemble needed to be able to sing, play multiple musical instruments, move beautifully through Ana Inés Jabares Pita’s set and truly take over the Swan Theatre space with their luminescent, celebratory energy.”
Isobel McArthur is an Olivier Award winning actor, director and playwright. McArthur’s playwrighting credits include The Grand Old Opera House Hotel (Traverse Theatre Company with Dundee Rep Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Quiz! (National Theatre of Scotland/BBC Scotland) with joint credits as lead performer and playwright including How to Sing it (Tron Theatre) and Daphne Oram’s Wonderful World of Sound (Tron Theatre/Scottish Tour). Isobel trained the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and her acting credits include Ella Hickson’s Wendy & Peter Pan, Anthony Neilson’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lyceum Theatre), the Scottish premiere of Mike Bartlett’s Cock (Tron Theatre), Temp/Casual (Contact Theatre) and Edwin Morgan’s Scots language Cyrano De Bergerac (National Theatre of Scotland/Citizens Theatre).
The Fair Maid of the West features Design by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, Lighting by Sinéad McKenna, Music by Michael John McCarthy, Sound by Niamh Gaffney, Movement by Emily Jane Boyle, Dramaturgy by Pippa Hill, Fights by Claire Llewellyn. Casting is by Martin Poile.