Brand new play, Faustus: That Damned Woman, from award-winning theatre maker Chris Bush (The Assassination of Katie Hopkins, Pericles) is coming to Bristol Old Vic from 10-21 March and has been causing a stir on its London opening.
This feminist version turns the original story, of one man’s willingness to sell his soul for greatness, on its head. It reimagines Faustus as a woman who makes the ultimate sacrifice to traverse centuries and alter the course of history. But it is also a study of how we treat women who pursue greatness, and how traits that seem admirable in men, might warrant damnation in women.
Recent debate around the language used to insult women in positions of power, or the recent Academy Awards “Best Director” list being female-free, make the timing of this production all the more apt. Bristol’s reputation for embracing risk-taking theatre makes it the perfect fit for this new production, described as a “watershed” moment (Daily Telegraph).
Co-produced by Headlong (Richard III, People, Places and Things) and the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, it is presented in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Caroline Byrne directs this radical new work. Drawing on the Faustus myth, Chris Bush’s urgent reimagining asks what we must sacrifice to achieve greatness and the legacy that we leave behind. This is the first work to be commissioned as part of Headlong and the Lyrica Hammersmith Theatre’s long-term commitment to commissioning and producing work of scale by women playwrights.
Critically acclaimed actress Jodie McNee plays Johanna Faustus (described as “elemental”, Telegraph). Her extensive theatre credits include Venice Preserved (RSC), Anatomy Of A Suicide (Royal Court), The Night Watch, Hamlet, Orpheus Descending, A Taste of Honey (Royal Exchange, Manchester); An Oak Tree, Our Country’s Good, Three Winters (National Theatre).
She is joined on stage by Danny Lee Wynter as Mephistopheles, an actor known for his work across stage and screen. He is the founder of the campaign and charity Act For Change. His theatre credits include The Maids (HOME, Manchester), Cell Mates (Hampstead Theatre), Forty Years On (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Deathwatch (The Print Room). Danny’s TV and film credits include the lead in Stephen Poliakoff’s Joe’s Palace & Capturing Mary, Hot Fuzz and Holby City.
The cast is completed by Katherine Carlton (The Railway Children, Peter Pan Goes Wrong), Alicia Charles (BBC Doctors, Father Brown), Emmannuella Cole (Casualty, Top Boy, An Octoroon) Barnaby Power (Terminal 3 & Act, The Print Room) and Tim Samuels (The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, RSC).