Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nell Leyshon - First Women of the Globe

As the first play penned by a woman opens at Shakespeare's Globe today – breaking a 411-year tradition – top theatre directors report a surge in prominent female playwrights, with a wave of talented women coming to the fore in Britain's male-dominated theatres.

Nell Leyshon will make history at the Globe in central London with her new play Bedlam, which chronicles the goings on at London's notorious Bethlem psychiatric hospital in the 18th century. Following the story of a young country girl admitted to the asylum, the dark comedy looks at the terrible treatments administered to unfortunate inhabitants, and the gin craze that was sweeping London.

That the 48-year-old Leyshon, who is also a successful radio playwright and novelist, has cracked the Globe is seen as a symbolic breakthrough for women theatre writers.

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