Emancipation Through Typing! Age of Arousal Opens at Canada's Shaw Festival Aug. 13

News   Emancipation Through Typing! Age of Arousal Opens at Canada's Shaw Festival Aug. 13
The Shaw Festival's new production of Linda Griffiths' Age of Arousal, freely adapted from George Gissing's novel "The Odd Women," a play about women typists in Victorian England, opens Aug. 13 following previews from July 23 at the Court House Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Gray Powell and Donna Belleville
Gray Powell and Donna Belleville Photo by David Cooper

Shaw artistic director Jackie Maxwell directs "this rousing theatrical production set in a surrealistic Victorian England," according to notes from the festival that stages works by George Bernard Shaw, or works related to his world. Age of Arousal had its world premiere as part of the Enbridge playRites Festival of New Canadian Plays in February 2007 at Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary. Direction and dramaturgy were by Karen Hines.

In the play, according to the Shaw Festival, "it's 1885, a time of immense passion and confusion, and London faces a population imbalance that leaves it with half a million more women than men. Mary Barfoot (Donna Belleville), an ex-suffragette and proprietor of a secretarial school, leads women to their emancipation through the typewriter. When her lover and business partner Rhoda Nunn (Jenny Young) enrolls the three spinster Madden sisters, unexpected passions and secret desires are unleashed as they each learn what being a New Woman can truly mean."

Also featured are Zarrin Darnell-Martin, Sharry Flett, Kelli Fox and Gray Powell.

Age of Arousal is designed by Sue LePage, with lighting design by Alan Brodie, original music and sound design by John Gzowski and movement by Valerie Moore. The stage management team includes stage manager Diane Konkin and assistant stage manager Eamonn Reil.

Canadian playwright and actor Linda Griffiths has tackled a range of subjects and roles including both Margaret and Pierre Trudeau in her play Maggie & Pierre, poet Gwendolyn MacEwan in Alien Creature and Wallis Simpson in The Duchess. Age of Arousal plays in repertory until Oct. 10. The Shaw Festival 2010 season runs until Nov. 14 and also features An Ideal Husband, Harvey, The Women, The Cherry Orchard, One Touch of Venus, The Doctor's Dilemma, John Bull's Other Island, Half an Hour and Serious Money.

For more information, visit shawfest.com.


In the spirit of George Bernard Shaw, "the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond."

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