The Welkin, the latest from The Children and Chimerica playwright Lucy Kirkwood, opens January 22 at National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre in London.
James Macdonald directs the play, with Maxine Peake (A Streetcar Named Desire at Royal Exchange) starring as midwife Lizzy Luke, who comes to the defense of a young woman accused of murder in the 1759-set drama. Ria Zmitrowicz (The Doctor) stars as the defendant Sally Poppy, sentenced to hang for murder.
When Sally claims to be pregnant, a jury of 12 matrons are taken from their housework to decide whether she’s telling the truth or simply trying to escape the noose. With only Lizzy prepared to defend the girl, and a mob baying for blood outside, the matrons wrestle with their new authority, and the devil in their midst.
Joining Peake and Zmitrowicz on stage are Natasha Cottrall, Jenny Galloway, Haydn Gwynne, Zainab Hasan, Aysha Kala, Wendy Kweh, Philip McGinley, Cecilia Noble, Dawn Sievewright, June Watson, Laurence Ubong Williams, Hara Yannas, and Brigid Zengeni.
The Welkin features set and costumes by Bunny Christie, lighting design by Lee Curran, sound design by Carolyn Downing, movement by Imogen Knight, and fight direction by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-ANNIE Ltd.