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Theatr Clwyd Announces Cast For World Premiere of CELEBRATED VIRGINS: A STORY OF THE LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN

Celebrated Virgins stars Victoria John as Eleanor, Heather Agyepong as Sarah, Seán Carlsen as William and Emma Pallant as Lady Betty/Mary.

Theatr Clwyd today announces the cast for their new production of Celebrated Virgins: A Story of the Ladies of Llangollen, created by Katie Elin-Salt and Eleri B. Jones. This inspiring new play, based on the remarkable true sapphic love story of Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, opens at Theatr Mix - Theatr Clwyd's temporary theatre village - on 24 May, with previews from 20 May, and runs until 4 June. Celebrated Virgins stars Victoria John as Eleanor, Heather Agyepong as Sarah, Seán Carlsen as William and Emma Pallant as Lady Betty/Mary.

Katie Elin-Salt and Eleri Jones said: "We are thrilled to finally be able to bring this important and historic story to the stage, nearly 250 years after it started. We are so grateful to Theatr Clwyd, The Carne Trust, and to Tamara Harvey, for supporting us and giving us the platform to help these women reclaim their life story for a modern audience."

Celebrated Virgins follows the story of Miss Sarah Ponsonby and Lady Eleanor Butler, two women raised in the upper echelons of 18th century Irish society who met when their worlds collided at Miss Parkes School for Girls, forming an unbreakable bond. Following this, they were forced to leave their homes and cast out by society. Taking up residence in Llangollen they became minor celebrities, forced to witness their own lives written about by those who could never understand. Now, they are back, ready to take back the story that's rightfully theirs - on their own terms.


Katie Elin-Salt returns to Theatr Clwyd following a writing residency at the venue from 2020-2021 and various acting credits at the theatre including the Paines Plough Roundabout season, Educating Rita, Under Milkwood, As You Like It, Season's Greetings and Jack and The Beanstalk. An actor and writer from Bridgend, South Wales, she trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and worked professionally as actor for many years. Most recently she has been seen on BBC Wales starring in The Tuckers. She has worked to develop her writing voice during the pandemic, mentored under the Royal court's Playwriting scheme and her first play Sprinkles was produced by Dirty Protest in December 2021. She has also had commissions from the Sherman Theatre, Out of Joint and Chippy Lane.

Eleri B. Jones is a Welsh theatre and film director. After seven years working as a professional actor and workshop leader, she moved into directing, mentored by BAFTA-winning director Carol Wiseman and was selected as one of the first two recipients of the Traineeship for Directors in Wales at Theatr Clwyd, supported by the Carne Trust and Sir Ian McKellen. Her previous directing credits include the Women Rediscovered film series (written by Emyr John for Theatr Clwyd/NE Wales Archives), Sprinkles (written by Katie Elin-Salt for Dirty Protest), A Christmas Carol (devised from the original text by Jones & Laura Marie Donnelly for the Charles Dickens Museum) and Gwyl Gaeaf (written by Rebecca Wilson for the Once Upon a Christmas Series, Theatr Clwyd). Eleri also works as an assistant director and has recently finished shooting on the Theatr Clwyd/Rondo Media production of Tim Price's Isla for BBC Four, directed by Tamara Harvey.

Victoria John returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Sarah. She previously appeared in: Pavilion, Wave Me Goodbye, Cyrano de Bergerac, All My Sons, The Light of Heart, Aristocrats, The Winslow Boy, Rape of the Fair Country, Boeing Boeing, Roots, The Suicide, A Chorus of Disapproval. Her other theatre credits include: Glitterball (RifCo Theatre), The Flock (Chichester Festival Theatre), HIR (Bush Theatre), Play/Silence (The Other Room), The Frozen Scream (WMC/Birmingham Hippodrome), Cancer Time (the Caramel Club), Never, Fear, Love? (Velvet Ensemble/WMC), The Gut Girls (Velvet Ensemble/Sherman Cymru), Treasure (King's Head Theatre) and Reasons for Feeling (Tristan Bates Theatre). Her television credits include: Gwaith/Cartref, Miranda, Cast Offs and Little Britain.

Heather Agyepong plays Sarah. For theatre, her credits include: The Body Remembers (The Place/Fuel Theatre), Noughts & Crosses (Mercury Theatre Colchester/Pilot Theatre), GIRLS (Talawa Theatre Company/HighTide/Soho Theatre), So Many Reasons (Fuel Theatre/Ovalhouse Theatre), TYPT 16: HATCH (Talawa Theatre Company), Brent in a Tent and SWITCH (Tricycle Theatre). Her television credits include: The Power (Amazon Studios), This is Going to Hurt and Enterprice (BBC). She was nominated for the South Bank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award 2018, awarded the Firecracker Photographic Grant 2020 and was selected as part of Foam Talent 2021, Jerwood/Photoworks Award 2022 and The Photographers Gallery New Talent Award 2021.

Seán Carlsen returns to Theatr Clwyd to play William - he previously appeared in An Enemy of the People. Theatre work includes Dust, Tales of the Country (UK tours), Twelfth Night, Cymbeline, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Ludlow Festival Theatre), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (The Watermill Theatre), Blue Remembered Hills (Cheltenham Everyman/Laughing Orange), The Masque of the Red Death (Fetch Theatre), Sons and Lovers (UK tour), Brief Encounter (OTTC tour), Rock n' Roll & Barbirolli (Snap/Westcliff Palace Theatre), The Picture of Dorian Gray (UK tour) as well as work with National Theatre Wales, Bristol Old Vic, Spectacle Theatre, Gwent Theatre, Theatr Powys and Theatre West Glamorgan. His television credits include His Dark Materials, All Creatures Great and Small, A Mother's Love, Stella, Skins, Legends, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Manhunt, Crimewatch, The Great Dome Robbery, The Bench, Casualty, Tastebuddies, Back Up, Tiger Bay, Mud, Y Palmant Our and Halen yn y Gwaed; and for film: Forgotten Journeys, The Cleansing, Boudica - Rise of the Warrior Queen, Frenzy, Shine and Darklands.

Emma Pallant plays Lady Betty/Mary. Her theatre credits include: Ravens: Spassky vs Fischer (Hampstead Theatre), An Enemy of the People, LAVA (Nottingham Playhouse), A Christmas Carol, The Dog in the Manger, Tamar's Revenge, The House of Desires, Pedro, The Great Pretender, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, As You Like It, Laughter in the Dark (Royal Shakespeare Company), Intra Muros (Park Theatre), William Wordsworth (ETT/Theatre by the Lake), The Wind in the Willows (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth (Shakespeare's Globe), It Just Stopped, Alison's House (Orange Tree Theatre); Bell, Book and Candle, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Romeo and Juliet (New Vic,; The Cherry Orchard, His Dark Materials, Katherine Desouza (Birmingham Rep), On Golden Pond, The Herbal Bed (Salisbury Playhouse), The House of Bernarda Alba (Belgrade Theatre), Cymbeline (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Top Girls (Watford Palace) and Precious Bane (Pentabus). Her television credits include: Father Brown, Holby City, Casualty and Doctors.



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