The public and private life of one of the most extraordinary women of the 20th century is the subject of an engrossing drama coming to London this spring.
Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London reveals a woman beset by deep personal insecurities and tragedy, but one who never lost her passionate belief in the strength of the human spirit.
In October 1942, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the President, took a dangerous trip to London to visit US troops and see how the British, most importantly the women, are coping.
In her last days, as the Cuban Missile Crisis pushed the world to the brink of catastrophe, Eleanor relives her journey, from bomb-damaged Buckingham Palace to midnight factories.
She also recalls her life, from unhappy child, to unconventional wife, to becoming, in President Truman’s words ‘First Lady of the World’.
Granted special permission to use Eleanor’s writings, Alison Skilbeck’s new one-woman show is a revelatory portrait of the woman who fought tirelessly for the rights of the underprivileged and who shaped the role of the First Lady in the post war era and beyond.
The play coincides with both the 70th anniversary of the death of Franklin D Roosevelt on April 12 and VE Day on May 8.
Alison Skilbeck’s credits include performances in London’s West End and Fringe, plus international theatre with tours of Europe and the US.
Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London is directed by Lucy Skilbeck (no relation to Alison,) director of actor training at RADA, who has worked in the West End, on Broadway, the National Theatre, off-West End and London’s Fringe.
A series of post-show discussions, hosted by Jonathan Steele, The Guardian’s former Chief Foreign Correspondent, will be staged throughout the run.
Mrs Roosevelt Flies To London, written and performed by Alison Skilbeck, runs at The King’s Head Theatre, Islington, from April 14-May 9.