In May 2016, I directed the first showing of Visible Theatre‘s Whatever Happened to Mrs Exeter? (working title) a new ‘semi-verbatim’ play created by the company during Arts Council-funded research and development for The Wardrobe Project.
I was privileged (and challenged!) throughout the process to be in the company of 8 experienced actresses, steering a treacherous course between soliciting everybody’s excellent (and usually contradictory) ideas for the development of the text and performance, and encouraging everybody to be quiet for long enough to actually get anything done.
The performance was at the gorgeous Graeae Theatre Company studios and the cast were (clockwise from top left) Di Sherlock, Shenagh Govern, Yvonne Gidden, Denise Stephenson, Sue Kelvin, Norma Cohen, Gilian Cally and Ruth Posner. The writer is Visible’s Artistic Director, Sonja Linden.
The Wardrobe Project is an exploration of age and identity through the prisms of fashion, clothing and the body. The script was based in part on transcripts of interviews with women aged 60-90 carried out by the company, in part on the responses of the company themselves to the questions raised by the interview conversations, and in part on a fictionalised murder mystery investigating the suspicious demise of Vogue’s older role model from the 1940s and 1950s, Mrs Exeter.
Response to the performance was excellent and a tour to theatre and non-theatre spaces looks likely for later in 2016. For more information – or to register interest as a venue, please click here.
We were fortunate to have photographer Nadia Otshudi with us and she took some great photos. I’ve selected a few below: