Rachael Stirling will star as Sarah Siddons aka the ‘Queen of Drury Lane’ in The Divine Mrs S, a new play by April De Angelis directed by Anna Mackmin, which will have its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre from 22 March – 27 April.
Sarah Siddons was the first truly respected female actor in theatre, achieving an astonishing level of celebrity at the end of the 18th century. April De Angelis’ backstage comedy recalls the origins of celebrity culture – before fame automatically granted wealth and power. The play is a Hampstead Theatre and AKO Foundation Next Decade commission and it has recently been nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize.
Double Olivier Award nominee Rachael Stirling recently appeared in Private Lives at the Donmar Warehouse and is also known for her screen roles in Detectorists and Tipping the Velvet. Her other theatre credits include Anna in the Tropics (Hampstead Theatre), Plenty (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Love Love Love (Lyric Hammersmith).
Joining Rachael will be Anushka Chakravarti (The Crucible, National Theatre), Eva Feiler (Black Chiffon, Park Theatre), Dominic Rowan (The Jungle, West End; Giving, Hampstead Theatre; Catastrophe, Channel 4), Sadie Shimmin (Leopaldstadt, Wyndham’s) and Gareth Snook (Wise Children, Old Vic).
In 1800 Sarah Siddons was universally acclaimed as the greatest actress of all time holding complete sway over public and critics alike. However she was subject to direction from the men in her life – her bone-headed brother who runs the theatre and chooses her roles, and her faithless husband who signs her contracts and collects her fees. Siddons decides it’s time to become the leading lady of her own life, harnessing her star power as the world’s first female celebrity and taking control of her own destiny – but she reckons without the absurdly comic plot-twists of a life on the stage.
Anna Mackmin returns to Hampstead for the first time since directing Di and Viv and Rose, which transferred from Downstairs, to Main Stage and eventually the West End. Her other productions include Dancing at Lughnasa, The Real Thing and Hedda Gabler (all Old Vic).Anna Mackmin is joined by designer Lez Brotherston, lighting designer Mark Henderson, composer and sound designer Max Pappenheim and fight director Maisie Carter.
The Divine Mrs S plays the main stage at Hampstead Theatre from 22 March until 27 April.
Tickets are available from £10 and are on sale now via hampsteadtheatre.com