Edinburgh or bust for 'Tis Pity She's a Whore

Issue date: 19 July 2010

A scene from 'Tis Pity She's a Whore The University of the West of England's Independent Theatre Company is taking its staging of 'Tis Pity She's a Whore from Bristol to the Edinburgh Festival, where it has just been given a larger venue to cope with likely demand.

The notorious revenge tragedy was written by John Ford and first performed in 1633. It is a tale of forbidden love, obsession and disaster that echoes the tragedy of 'Romeo and Juliet', but with an added twist as Ford daringly explores the incestuous relationship of his protagonists, Giovanni and his sister, Annabella. This interpretation by UWE Drama lecturer Caroline Hadley of the original five act play was the inaugural production of UWE's Independent Theatre Company. It combines the traditional text with an experimental, multi-media dimension and promises to be an evocative experience for the audience. The play contains themes of an adult nature.

In the lead-up to Edinburgh, the play is being staged at Bristol's Tobacco Factory on 29 and 30 July, and the North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford on 31 July. There will be nine performances at the Edinburgh Festival from 22 - 30 August at C Venues' George Square Theatre. The company has already travelled with the production – last year it represented the UK at International Student Drama Festivals in Canada and Belarus, where both the lead and supporting actresses picked up awards for their performances.

Caroline says, “I first discovered the play at Drama School in 1987 and had always wanted to direct it. I think it's a great story and an exciting, passionate play for young actors to perform. We have some fantastic actors, a talented designer in Jonathan Jones, a superb music score, including original music, and we're really looking forward to taking it to Edinburgh where we've been upgraded to the prestigious 470 seat C Plaza theatre.”

Caroline, who is a professional theatre director as well as a UWE Drama lecturer set up the UWE Independent Theatre Company last year as a way of continuing her professional practice. Caroline had previously worked as a professional director for eight years, including two years as Associate Director in the West End production of The Graduate starring Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall, as well as in various other theatres in London, including Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Fellow UWE Drama lecturer Craig Snelling is Artistic Director and current drama students and alumni form a cast of nine for this production. UWE's Multimedia Department also has an active role; students have been involved in filming segments of the play which will be interspersed with the live action.

Georgie Forshall says on the MakeMeNeon website, “Part of Tobacco Factory's ever-popular annual 'Edinburgh Or Bust' season, John Ford's famous play is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Cited as one of the most controversial works in English literature, this extremely provocative play promises to shock audiences and leave them squirming in their seats.

“Set in Parma against a backdrop of vengeance and lust, the story takes the audience on a tempestuous journey, exposing Ford's interest in aberrant psychology and extreme behaviour with its strong-willed characters, powerful emotions and explosive finale.”

To buy tickets and for more information visit http://tobaccofactorytheatre.com/shows/detail/tis_pity_shes_a_whore

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