I’ve been running Attic for over 18 months and even before I started the story of Rose Lamartine Yates seemed fascinating to me. Over the past year I started searching, and whilst there is knowledge locally, much held by the fantastic Sarah Gould at Merton’s Heritage Department, and a student doing a PhD on her which will be published imminently, it seemed there was dearth of awareness about her work, life and impact in the wider community. I thought this was something which Attic could do something about.
History offers a rich seam to dramatist and theatre makers – the gaps in what we know, the imagined meetings, the possibility for things to have not been quite as we thought. History and drama have always spoken to each other, from the ancient world, through Shakespeare to A Very English Scandal about Jeremy Thorpe which just had rave reviews on BBC 1. Attic’s work has often used our shared history as a jumping off point – a gathering place from where we can develop drama to make a deep and meaningful impact on our audience’s lives, whilst simultaneously interrogating our shared history, casting new light in areas we didn’t know were there. This felt like a project crying out to happen.
So last year I met with Beth Flintoff, a remarkable playwright, whose output in the last three years (most notably for Reading Between the Lines) has included large scale history plays on the early kings and queens of England as well as Oscar Wilde and adaptations of classic novels and Shakespeare. I’d been longing to find an original project to work with her on, as her intelligent, incisive and very entertaining writing felt like the kind of thing our audiences would enjoy. She was instantly drawn to this story so we commissioned her to write a new play to tour across South West London this October.
The outcome of that commission is The Rebellious Women of Wimbledon which will open at Wimbledon Library on October 9th, before visiting other libraries, schools and community centres throughout October. We are delighted to announce that the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund will support this project with which we aim to inspire local audiences with this remarkable story of local perseverance.
More information and details about the project will be released soon and if you would like to be the first to know join our mailing list at the top of the page. We are also still keen to find more local community hosts, so if you have a group who think would enjoy the play, or run space where we could perform, drop us a line.