Emilia

Vaudeville Theatre
The Strand, London

Public Previews: 8 March 2019
Opens: 21 March 2019
Closes: 15 June 2019

Buy tickets:

Buy tickets online

Nearest Tube: Charing Cross / Covent Garden

Location street map

Theatre seating plan

Show times
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no show
Note: Sat 9 March at 7.30pm only
Note: Wed 13 March at 7.30pm only
Note: Sat 16 March at 7.30pm only

Runs ? hours and ? minutes

Seat prices
£? to £?
Premium Seating also available
(plus booking fees if applicable)

Emilia

The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre's production of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's new play Emilia in London featuring an all-female cast

William Shakespeare. Kit Marlowe. Emilia Bassano? 400 years ago, Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. It wasnít. Her story is still our story. Emilia and her sisters reach out to us across the centuries with passion, fury, laughter and song. Listen to them. Let them inspire and unite us. Times are finally changing. Not fast enough. Itís up to you. We are all Emilia. Stand up alongside her and be counted.

Apart from her 1611 volume of poetry - which was the first published collection of poetry written by a woman in England - very little is known about Emilia Bassano, it may have been that she was the 'Dark Lady' of Shakespeare's Sonnets, and it is also possible that she was the inspiration for the 'Emilia' characters who appear in Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, Othello, The Two Noble Kinsmen and The Winterís Tale.

PLEASE NOTE: This play contains adult themes.

Following an acclaimed season at London's Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in August 2018, this production of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's play transfers to the West End for a strictly limited season.

Directed by Nicole Charles with choreographer by Anna Morrisey, designs by Jo Scotcher and music by Bill Barclay.

When this production originally opened at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in August 2018, Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard said that, "from the sparse details available about Bassano's life, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm has woven a light-hearted yet heartfelt ó if wildly overlong ó hymn to the sisterhood. This is primarily an exercise in wishful thinking, in fanciful feminist speculation." Sam Marlowe in the Times thought that "Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's play is explosive, but erratic... with its bared teeth, loud, enraged voices and defiant refusal to be dramatically tidy or decorous, it is a triumphant subversion of restrictive norms of 'femininity'." Laura Barnett in the Daily Telegraph commented that "it's a shame that the play as a whole is marred by some seriously clunky dialogue and an uneven tone, veering wildly between populist laugh-chasing and leaden, didactic speechifying. It's over-long, too, and there are several moments when the anachronistic humour veers dangerously close to Blackadder territory. But the spirit and big-heartedness of the show are undeniable." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper wrote that "Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's rousing new play... in Nicole Charles's exhilarating all-female production... it's one knockout moment after another in this production... this is a landmark moment in the history of Shakespeare's Globe." Suzi Feay in the Financial Times explained that "the plot is not to be taken too literally, for Emilia is much more about present pieties and anxieties than its ostensible historical period... at times the play's earnest homilies are merely cues for applause from virtue-signalling audience members."

A transfer from London's Shakespeare Globe Theatre - previewed from 10 August 2018, opened on 15 August 2018 and closed on 1 September 2018, presented in repertory. The original cast featured Nadia Albina as 'Lady Katherine', Anna Andresen as 'Mary Sidney', Shiloh Coke as 'Lady Anne Clifford', Leah Harvey as 'Emilia 1', Jenni Maitland as 'Countess of Kent', Clare Perkins as 'Emilia 3', Carolyn Pickles as 'Lord Henry Carey', Vinette Robinson as 'Emilia 2', Sophie Russell as 'Lord Thomas Howard', Sarah Seggari as 'Lady Cordelia', Sophie Stone as 'Lady Margaret Clifford', Charity Wakefield as 'William Shakespeare' and Amanda Wilkin as 'Alphonso Lanier'.

"What a pity the script is largely untroubled by subtext. It's a furious yet spoofy historical epic based on the life of Emilia Bassano... This proto-feminist and mother may also have inspired the 'Dark Lady' of Shakespeare's sonnets. We see Emilia's challenges as a woman of colour at court and beyond, meet the lustful men who patronise her and the women who support her... Reversing Elizabethan stage tradition, the men's roles are taken by women in Nicole Charles's production. Emilia herself is played by three different actresses at various stages of her life story, not that this makes her fully multifaceted... Plenty will stand up for the show; others may agree with its feminism while finding it didactic." The Sunday Times

"The Globe claims Emilia has been 'erased' from history by the patriarchy. But the truth is that we know next to nothing about most of Shakespeare's contemporaries, including the man himself. Morgan Lloyd Malcolm expands her play into the vacuum, imagining Emilia through three actresses in the title role... The audience lapped up this passionate sisterhood romp that's part Blackadder, part agitprop. I found it exasperating. Overlong and generally up itself, the show tells you a lot about gender politics now. But it tells you precisely nothing about the work of the woman it rightly celebrates." The Mail on Sunday

"Drawing on the few tantalising facts available - daughter of an Italian court musician; mistress of a Lord Chamberlain; published poet, teacher and businesswoman - Morgan Lloyd Malcolm has written a spirited, rabble-rousing, feminist redress. Though it speaks more of now, than then... The overlong work is written from a 21st century sensibility and plays to the crowd in language and attitude. 'Let's slay it', says a pert young courtier at a dance class. Increasingly, it plays fast and loose with Emilia Bassano's biography. Virtue-signalling, digressions on London's historic multiculturalism, or the rights and wrongs of women, clearly chime with a liberal London audience's thoughts on Brexit and #MeToo, but lead you to question how deeply this play reflects its historic context." The Metro

Emilia in London at the Vaudeville Theatre has public previews from 8 March 2019, opens on 21 March 2019 and closes on 15 June 2019