David Gilmore Directs REDISCOVERY at the Finborough Theatre

By: Mar. 28, 2019
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David Gilmore Directs REDISCOVERY at the Finborough Theatre

"I used to think you were so fine before I married you."

In a production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre, St John Ervine's 1913 drama Jane Clegg opens at the Finborough Theatre for a four-week limited season on Tuesday, 23 April 2019 (Press Nights: Thursday, 25 April 2019 and Friday, 26 April 2019 at 7.30pm).

London, 1913.

Travelling salesman Henry Clegg has taken his wife, Jane, for granted for most of their marriage, as she endures his dishonesty, infidelity and neglect, as well as his demanding mother.

But when Henry is accused of embezzling money from his firm and his latest affair is revealed, Jane realises she must finally escape her life of domestic abuse for herself and her children...only to find that for women without money and connections breaking free isn't so easy.

Written in 1913 at the height of the campaign for votes for women, Jane Clegg premiered at Manchester's famous Gaiety Theatre, before transferring to The Royal Court Theatre - where it was compared to Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Dame Sybil Thorndike created the title role and performed it all over the world, including in a BBC Radio broadcast in 1967.

Unseen in London since 1944, Jane Clegg now receives a long-overdue new production, directed by renowned director David Gilmore. The Finborough Theatre has also previously rediscovered two acclaimed plays by St John Ervine, most notably his play Mixed Marriage in 2011.

Playwright St John Ervine (1883-1971) was a dramatist, novelist, biographer and critic. Born in East Belfast to a Protestant family, he was for a time an unlikely choice as Literary Manager at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under W. B. Yeats. His many plays include Mixed Marriage (1911) and John Ferguson (1915), both of which were also recently rediscovered by the Finborough Theatre. In later life, Ervine turned his back on Ireland and its politics, serving in the First World War (where he lost a leg). He settled in England where he became a West End dramatist of drawing room comedies, as well as a noted drama critic for The Observer and The Morning Star, and a biographer of both Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw.