Vanessa and Virgina
By Elizabeth Wright
Based on the novel by Susan Sellers
Nominated for 5 Off-West End Awards!
Vanessa and Virginia began its journey as a collaboration at Bath Spa University, and went on to open at the International Virginia Woolf Conference in Aix-en-Provence. With support from the Virginia Woolf/Vanessa Bell estate, we were able to continue touring the show to Poland, Germany, Scotland and across the UK. Following its success, the production transferred to London’s Riverside Studios for a 3 week sell-out run in April 2013.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Susan Sellers, Elizabeth Wright’s innovative play is a moving, poetic and powerful story about the remarkable sisters, novelist Virginia Woolf and artist Vanessa Bell.
“Our faces are imperfect replicas of each other, as if the painter were trying to capture the same person from different angles”
Fusing original music and poetic text, the play creates a dream-like, meditative quality, moving gracefully through time and seamlessly transporting the audience through places, events and memories. The play is enhanced by an interwoven projected backdrop of evolving images, inspired by paintings by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.
Vanessa and Virginia are sisters, best friends, bitter rivals, and artistic collaborators. As children, they fight for attention. As young women, they stake their claims on bohemian Bloomsbury, creating new lives and groundbreaking works of art. Through everything — marriage, lovers, loss, madness, children, success, and failure — they remain the closest of co-conspirators. But they also betray each other. A love letter and an elegy from Vanessa Bell to her sister, ‘Vanessa and Virginia’ is a stunning portrait of sibling rivalry and an imaginative triumph.
Director: Emma Gersch
Set/Costume Design: Kate Unwin
Music: Jeremy Thurlow
Vanessa Bell: Kitty Randle
Virginia Woolf (Tour): Sarah Fullager
Virginia Woolf (London): Alice Frankham
“Director Emma Gersch guides her actors through the dreamlike but always coherent movement of memory, keeping the connection between the sisters as palpable as the individual characterisations, while designer Kate Unwin’s almost bare stage, with a few necessary props literally plucked out of the air, evokes both the playroom of the story’s beginning and the beach of its tragic end."
- The Stage