Thu 07 Jan
We can now announce the cast and composer for our co-production of The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan, a gripping play exploring the secret life of Shakespeare's daughter, co-produced with English Touring Theatre, and Royal & Derngate Northampton.
Two time Manchester Evening News award winner Emma Lowndes (Downton Abbey, Cranford, The Musketeers, Children of the Sun and Thérèse Raquin at the National Theatre) leads the cast. Royal & Derngate Artistic Director James Dacre directs a company including two time Olivier nominee Charlotte Wakefield (The Sound of Music at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Philip Correia, Patrick Driver, Jonathan Guy Lewis, Michael Mears and Matt Whitchurch.
This is the first major revival of Peter Whelan’s The Herbal Bed and features original music by acclaimed Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson, founder of Bedroom Community and collaborator with the likes of Bjork, Damon Albarn and Thom Yorke.
The production reunites James Dacre and Jonathan Fensom from the team who won the 2014 UK Theatre Award for Best Design for Peter Whelan’s The Accrington Pals (also starring Emma Lowndes) at the Royal Exchange Theatre. The tour opens at Royal & Derngate in February, ahead of performances at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Brighton Theatre Royal, The Lowry, New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, Theatre Royal Bath and Oxford Playhouse. The tour will complete its run here at the Rose Theatre in May.
Based upon real events from Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer of 1613, The Herbal Bed is an emotional thriller recounting the public trial of Shakespeare’s daughter. Accused of adultery with her neighbour, Susanna and her husband fall under the glare of intense public scrutiny as they sue her accuser for slander.
A powerful exposé of the contradiction between human desire and social convention which seeks to repress it, Peter Whelan's moving and uplifting play provides a beautiful evocation of life in Shakespearean England. It was first produced to great acclaim by the Royal Shakespeare Company before transferring to the West End and Broadway, winning the Writer’s Guild and TMA Awards.
The Herbal Bed is at the Rose Theatre Kingston from 26 Apr - 7 May.