Mary's Babies - coming to Jermyn Street Theatre
Monday 18 February 2019
Drama - Off-West End - Shows
Two of Britain's best-known classical actors, Emma Fielding and Katy Stephens, will co-star in Maud Dromgoole's funny and compelling play, Mary's Babies, about family and fertility - at Jermyn Street Theatre from 20 March.
Image: Jermyn Street Theatre
Playing at Jermyn Street Theatre from 20 March to 13 April, the world premiere of Maud Dromgoole's Mary's Babies will be directed by Tatty Hennessy, and will star two of Britain's best-known classical actors - Emma Fielding and Katy Stephens.
Mary Barton, a pioneer of fertility treatment, 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.
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, Ms Dromgoole's 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.
Ms Fielding 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.
Ms Stephens' 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 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 Jermyn Street run will include two post-show Q&As on the 27th of March and the 10th of April.
Jermyn Street's artistic director, Tom Littler, commented ...
"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."
About the playwright
Maud Dromgoole's previous collaborations with director Tatty Hennessy include the critically acclaimed and Offie-nominated Acorn at the Courtyard Theatre.
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.
About the director
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.
Mary's Babies plays as part of Jermyn Street Theatre's Portrait Season, which runs until July.
The season 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 also celebrating its 25th birthday as an independent theatre in the heart of the West End, and has won numerous awards and transferred many productions to the West End and Broadway.
Two years ago, new artistic director Tom Littler relaunched the theatre as a producing house, which is also a signatory to the Equity Fringe Agreement and committed to equal gender representation.
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', with no idea about their shared father.
Meeting each other. Making friends. Having babies.
Maud Dromgoole's play is based on the true story of Mary Barton and the Barton Brood, researched through surveys and interviews.
Provocative, funny, and fascinating, it imagines a series of encounters between these unknowing half-siblings.
Author: Maud Dromgoole
Director: Tatty Hennessy
Designer: Anna Reid
Lighting: Jai Morjaria
Sound: Yvonne Gilbert
Production: Co-production with Oak Theatre
From: Wednesday 20 March 2019
Closes: Saturday 13 April 2019
£10 for under-30s (100 tickets)
A special rate of £10 will be available for donor-conceived persons
After Saturday March 30 all tickets are full price.
ActDrop full listing for Mary's Babies