Emma Fielding And Katy Stephens Star In MARY'S BABIES At Jermyn Street Theatre
Artistic Director Tom Littler has announced casting for the world premiere of Mary's Babies. Two of Britain's best-known classical actors, Emma Fielding and Katy Stephens, will co-star in Maud Dromgoole's funny and compelling play about family and fertility.
Mary Barton, a pioneer of fertility treatment, thought her husband was perfect. And doesn't every child deserve the perfect father? So Mary used her husband's sperm to impregnate up to a thousand women, and then burnt all the records. A thousand resulting children, the 'Barton Brood', have no idea about their shared father. Meeting each other. Making friends. Having babies.
Mary's Babies is a fictional tale inspired by the true story of Mary Barton and the Barton Brood, researched through surveys and interviews. Provocative, comic, and compelling, Maud Dromgooles new play imagines a series of encounters between these unknowing half-siblings.
Emma Fielding's roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she is an Associate Artist, include Imogen in Cymbeline, Isabella in Measure for Measure and Lady Teazle in The School For Scandal. She has recently starred as Mrs Allonby in A Woman of No Importance in the West End. Other roles include Lady Macbeth in John Caird's production of Macbeth at the Almeida, Sybil in Private Lives in the West End and on Broadway, and creating roles in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and Rock 'n' Roll. Emma has multiple Olivier Award nominations alongside winning the Critics' Circle and Ian Charleson Awards.
Katy Stephens is also an Associate Artist at the RSC, where her roles include Rosalind in As You Like It, Tamora in Titus Andronicus, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Regan in King Lear, Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew, Sarah in Mark Ravenhill's Candide, and Joan of Arc/Margaret of Anjou in Michael Boyd's Histories Cycle. Work for Shakespeare's Globe includes Clytemnestra in The Oresteia, Calpurnia in Julius Caesar and Iras in Antony and Cleopatra. Katy's awards include the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actress in 2009 for the RSC's Histories Cycle as well as being part of the team that won the Olivier Award for Best Ensemble Performance for the same show.
Mary's Babies, which runs from March 20 to April 13, was researched with the advice of the Donor Conception Network, interviews with the Barton Brood and a survey of over 200 respondents, identifying varying attitudes towards genetics, family and donor conception. Posing questions around what conception, fertility and family mean in the modern world, the run will include two post-show Q&As on the 27th of March and the 10th of April focused on the issues raised. These are -
· Wednesday March 27. Pride Angel sponsors this Q&A focused on the modern landscape of donor conception and the experiences of donors, recipients and donor conceived people. This will include Nina Barnsley, director of the Donor Conception Network, Charles Lister, Chair of the Sperm, Egg And Embryo Donation Trust and Mary's Babies playwright Maud Dromgoole.
· Wednesday April 10. A chance to hear from members of the Mary's Babies creative team and Nina Barnsley from the Donor Conception Network to discuss responding to the social issues that arise when portraying donor conception on stage.
A special rate of £10 tickets will be available for donor-conceived persons.
Tom Littler said: 'We are passionate about promoting and developing the playwrights and directors of the future, and Maud and Tatty are two of the brightest new talents around - and we are lucky that two of our foremost actors, Emma Fielding and Katy Stephens, believe in this wonderful new play as much as we do.'
Maud Dromgoole's previous collaborations with director Tatty Hennessy include the critically acclaimed and Offie-nominated Acorn at the Courtyard Theatre. Exeunt Magazine commented that: 'Dromgoole's script unfurls expertly ... an indication of great things to come from an exciting team of young and irrepressible female artists.' Maud's other theatre writing includes: Rosa, Ursula and Richard (Finalist Mercury Weinberger Prize), Sleeping Beauty (The Bunker), Blue Moon (Arcola) Milk (Bunker / Hackney Attic), Cake (Cockpit / Tristan Bates Theatre), Selkie (Southwark Playhouse). Her sitcom Acting Up was shortlisted for BBC Writersroom Comedy Script Room and she is currently working on a new play for BBC Radio 4. Maud's new work 3 Billion Seconds plays at The Vault Festival in March.
Tatty Hennessy is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg and director. Her previous work includes As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare in the Squares), Acorn (Courtyard), All That Lives (Ovalhouse), Julius Caesar (LAMDA), Connected (Bunker). She has assisted Adele Thomas on The Oresteia (Shakespeare's Globe) and on Dominic Dromgoole's world tour production of Hamlet which visited every country in the world. Tatty was appointed the Baylis Assistant Director role to assist Max Webster on Fanny and Alexander at the Old Vic in spring 2018. Her play A Hundred Words for Snow won the Heretic Voices Award for monologue drama and is running at the Trafalgar Studios this March.
Jermyn Street Theatre's PORTRAIT SEASON, which runs from January to July 2019, also includes the stage premiere of Rose Heiney's Original Death Rabbit (9 January to 9 February), Trevor Nunn's world premiere production of Harley Granville Barker's Agnes Colander: An Attempt at Life, revised by Richard Nelson (12 February to 16 March), Howard Brenton's return adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie and new adaptation of Creditors (25 April to 1 June) and Pictures Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde in an adaptation by Lucy Shaw (5 June to 6 July).
Jermyn Street Theatre is celebrating its 25th birthday as an independent theatre in the heart of the West End. It has won numerous awards and transferred many productions to the West End and Broadway. Its co-Founders, Penny Horner and Howard Jameson, serve as Executive Director and Chair of the Board respectively. Two years ago, new Artistic Director Tom Littler relaunched the theatre as a producing house. Jermyn Street Theatre is a signatory to the Equity Fringe Agreement and is committed to equal gender representation.