Following its sell-out run at Shakespeare’s Globe, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s exciting and entertaining new play Emilia, directed by Nicole Charles, bursts into the Vaudeville Theatre for a strictly limited season from 8 March – 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.
When the play opened a year later, this serendipitous meeting of an artistic idea and a social awakening sparked a flame within many women who identified with Emilia and embraced her story as their own. Thanks to them, what started as 11 performances at the Globe now blazes into the West End.
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 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.
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, Eilene Davidson.