A ground-breaking historical play, inspired by the 17th century poet and revolutionist Emilia Bassana, is coming from the West End to Melbourne. This fierce mixture of comedy and fury takes a look at Emilia, a writer, wife, lover, and potentially, the ‘Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets. See EMILIA make its Australian debut at Arts Centre Melbourne from November 10 to 27.
EMILIA at Arts Centre Melbourne
This acclaimed drama features an all-female creative team, and a cast from diverse cultural backgrounds. Written by British playwright, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, this provocative production takes you on a journey through love, loss, power, rebellion, and what it is to be a woman in a man’s world. Three women, Manali Datar, Cessalee Stovall and Lisa Maza, take on the pivotal role of Emilia. Ten other women take on an assortment of his and her roles throughout the show.
As a writer in 1609, all Emilia wanted was for her voice to be heard. So, why was her story erased from history? Together, Emilia and her sisters reach out to audiences, and celebrate women’s voices in this story of trailblazing and forgotten women.
Described as a “feminist wrecking ball” by Edwina Lunn, the Director of Programming at Arts Centre Melbourne, Emilia is a commanding voice and a hero for our times. “Brace yourselves Melbourne,” said Lunn, “we know you are ready for the fire and fury, the funnies and the post show foyer fisticuffs.”
EMILIA was created in the midst of the Me Too movement, and is a powerful reminder of the issues facing women today. “I wish I could say things have changed for the better since then, but it honestly feels like things have been getting even worse,” said Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. “So perhaps we need this show, and others like it, even more. It will mean all sorts of new things now, and the Australian production will have a very different resonance to the UK one, and this is exactly what the team who created it hoped for.”
In 2020, EMILIA won three Olivier Awards, including Best Entertainment or Comedy Play, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design.
EMILIA is brought to Melbourne by Essential Theatre, a female-led company that’s all about presenting Shakespeare through a female lens.
Pre-sale tickets are available now, and general public tickets will go on sale on Thursday July 14 at 1pm.