Triple Olivier Award-winning West End play EMILIA makes Australian debut at Arts Centre Melbourne

photo credit: Pia Johnson

From the West End to Australia, the ground-breaking triple Olivier Award-winning stage show EMILIA will make its Australian debut at Arts Centre Melbourne from 10 – 27 November.

Inspired by 17th century poet and revolutionist Emilia Bassano – the supposed ‘Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets – the highly lauded show, written by British playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, features a team entirely made up of women and non-binary creatives from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Malcolm says, “I am so thrilled EMILIA is coming to Australia! This show was an absolute joy to make and perform but it also opened up important conversations about whose stories we tell and how we tell them. It was created in the midst of Me Too and the bravery of all the women speaking out fuelled us. I wish I could say things have changed for the better since then, but it honestly feels like things have been getting even worse. 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 very different resonance to the UK one, and this is exactly what the team who created it hoped for. As Emilia says: ‘Take the fire as your own… we want you to, we need you to’.”

The powerful historical drama – one that unapologetically champions all women – sees Manali Datar, Cessalee Stovall and Lisa Maza – each take on the role of Emilia. It’s 1609. Bassano is a writer, wife, lover, mother, and muse. All she wanted was her voice to be heard. Could she have been the ‘Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets? What about her own poems? Why was her story erased from history?

Emilia and her sisters reach out to audiences across the centuries with passion, fury, laughter, and song as they inspire and unite to celebrate women’s voices through the story of this trailblazing, forgotten woman.

Over 400 years later, women are still faced with sexism, inequality, and harassment. In recent times where the #MeToo movement and Roe vs Wade have been most prevalent, it seems that we are not evolving fast enough. This theatre piece shows that we are Emilia, that we must stand up alongside her and be counted.

Fierce and provocative, EMILIA is the perfect mix of comedy and fury; a rollicking ride that takes audiences on an exuberant and moving journey though love, loss, identity, ambition, power, rebellion and what it is to be a woman in a man’s world.

In 2020, EMILIA won three Olivier Awards including ‘Best Entertainment or Comedy Play’, ‘Best Costume Design’ and ‘Best Sound Design.’

EMILIA

November 10-27
Arts Centre Melbourne

Tickets range between $39-$78

More information and tickets are available via artscentremelbourne.

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