‘To yearn for something – doesn’t that make life more intense?’
Lizzie Siddal is a new play that tells the dramatic story of the woman who was ‘Ophelia’ in Millais’ famous painting. It charts her dazzling trajectory from model to lover to artist, to a tragic figure in her own right.
London, 1849. Lizzie is plucked from the obscurity of a bonnet shop to model for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – an intoxicating group of young painters bent on revolutionising the Victorian art world.
Inspired by their passion and ambition, she throws herself headlong into their lives and their art – nearly dying in the creation of ‘Ophelia’. The painting is a triumph. But Lizzie wants more and dares to dream of being a painter herself.
Falling for their charismatic leader Dante Gabriel Rossetti, she becomes his muse and his lover and, against the odds, does succeed in winning independence as a female artist. She even secures a sponsor – the great critic, John Ruskin. But independence isn’t always what it seems, love can be fickle – and all art is a kind of deception. Lizzie is betrayed, and her response sparks a tragic denouement that still stirs debate to this day.
Production photos by Simon Annand
Opening performances (20th Nov, 21st Nov) – all tickets £15
Monday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm – £19 (£15 concessions)
Saturday matinees at 2:30pm (23rd Nov, 30th Nov, 7th Dec, 14th Dec, 21st Dec) £19 (£15 concessions)
Pay What You Can Tuesdays – except 17th December
Running time: 130 minutes including an interval
Recommended for ages 12+
There will be a post-show discussion on 17 December with Lucinda Hawksley, author of “Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel”
Lucinda Hawksley will be talking about her biography “Lizzie Siddal, The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel”, about the characters who appear in the play and what it was like to research Lizzie’s life and the Pre-Raphaelites.
Lucinda’s other books include: “Essential Pre-Raphaelites”, “Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens’ Artist Daughter”, “Charles Dickens: A Bicentenary Celebration”, “March, Women, March: Voices of the Women’s Movement” and the newly published “The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter”. Lucinda is a regular speaker at the National Portrait Gallery and a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London.