Downton Abbey’s Emma Lowndes leads the cast in a revival of Peter Whelan’s acclaimed Jacobean thriller, The Herbal Bed, a (possibly) true story about how Shakespeare’s daughter fought accusations of adultery.
The Herbal Bed, a co-production by English Touring Theatre, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Rose Theatre, Kingston, is set to open at Northampton next month. The production is directed by James Dacre, artistic director of the R & D.
Two time Manchester Evening News award winner Emma Lowndes stars as the Bard’s daughter, Susanna Hall. The remaining cast includes two time Olivier nominee Charlotte Wakefield, Philip Correia, Patrick Driver Jonathan Guy Lewis, Michael Mears and Matt Whitchurch.
This is the first major revival of Peter Whelan’s play and features original music by Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson.
Based upon real events from Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer of 1613, The Herbal Bed is an emotional thriller recounting the public trial of Shakespeare’s daughter. Accused of adultery with her neighbour, Susanna and her husband fall under the glare of intense public scrutiny as they sue her accuser for slander.
A powerful exposé of the contradiction between human desire and social convention which seeks to repress it, Whelan’s moving and uplifting play provides an insight into life in Shakespearean England. It was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company before transferring to the West End and Broadway, winning the Writer’s Guild and TMA Awards.
Emma Lowndes’ theatre credits include Children Of The Sun and Therese Raquin (National Theatre), The Glass Menagerie (Shared Experience Tour), Measure For Measure (Thelma Holt/ Plymouth), Topless Mum (Tricycle Theatre), Great Expectations (RSC), The Storm (The Globe), Whose Life Is It Anyway? (Comedy Theatre), The Accrington Pals, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Seagull, Cold Meat Party, Port (Royal Exchange Theatre).
Her television credits include Musketeers, Downton Abbey, Vera, Paradox, Silent Witness, Survivors, Cranford, Moving On, Jane Eyre, Waking The Dead: Straw Dog, After Life, Von Trapped, Burn It, Lenny Blue.
February 5-27, Royal & Derngate, Northampton March 1-5, Cambridge Arts Theatre March 8-12, Liverpool Playhouse March 15-19, Exeter Northcott Theatre March 22-26, Brighton Theatre Royal March 30-April 2, The Lowry, Salford April 12-16, Theatre Royal Bath April 19-23, Oxford Playhouse April 26-May 7, Rose Theatre, Kingston