New Theatre Peterborough announce that they will be working with writers Katie Lam and Alex Parker and director Tinuke Craig to host a workshop of a new musical adaptation of The Danish Girl at the New Theatre Peterborough from 26th – 30th April. This work has been made possible following funding received by the venue as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund.
The adaptation tells the story that many will recognise from the David Ebershoff book published in 2000 and the Academy Award-winning 2015 film starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander of the same name. The original book is a fictionalised account based on the real life of Lili Elbe; beginning the story as Danish painter Einar Wegener, married to fellow painter Gerda Wegener and becoming one of the first people to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
The Workshops will be led by American transgender actress L Morgan Lee as Lili alongside Laura Pitt-Pulford as Gerda, with Sharif Afifi, Kelly Agbowu, Jo Eaton-Kent, Siubhan Harrison, Chloe Hart, Chris Jenkins, Freddie King and Harrison Knights. The project will also be supported by consultants Jake and Hannah Graf, two of the UK’s leading trans voices, and Harry Williams, one of the creatives and founders of the Trans Voices Company.
Writer Katie Lam says, “Lili’s story spoke to us. We felt we could do something special with it and it would be well suited to our writing style. Alex reached out to David Ebershoff back in 2018; he took a chance on us, and agreed to let us turn it into a musical. Not only that, he has been incredibly generous in spirit about the whole project and given us substantial artistic license with the piece.
Inspired by discussions with our consultants and cast, we are committed to telling a joyful trans story. Lili of course struggled through the traumas inherent in transition and did not survive her final operation. But for decades she was supported, accepted and loved by her wife, siblings, parents, friends and wider community. She found a surgeon who believed and understood her, and was able to make her emotional reality a physical reality; and all a hundred years ago.”
L Morgan Lee says, “I never would have guessed, in the middle of a pandemic, I’d be in my apartment in New York on Zoom with a creative team in London discussing a new musical. I’ve dreamed of getting my hands on this kind of material in a show but the reality is Black women, and even more specifically Black, trans women are so rarely, if ever, even considered. This creative team has taken the time to truly see the artists they work with. They are committed to telling this story using not only a trans woman to play Lili but a variety of trans people in many of the other roles throughout the show with a cast that reflects the world we live in. The process has been such a testament to the potential of where our industry has the potential to go and I’m so honored to be a part of that.”
David Hutchinson CEO of Selladoor Worldwide, who operate the New Theatre Peterborough, says, “After an incredibly tough year for the theatre and creative industries, we are delighted that with the support of the DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund we will be able to bring the Danish Girl to life at our wonderful venue in Peterborough. At Selladoor we are committed to supporting new work and it’s an honour to be workshopping this amazing and important story with such a fantastic cast and creative team. With the support from the DCMS we are continuing to work hard to bridge the gap not only to get our industry moving again but in helping our communities to continue to access theatre and the arts. As the New Theatre prepares to reopen this is a first step towards retaining and growing the crucial connection we have with our audiences.”