Lizzie Siddal | Arcola Theatre

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Copperhead Productions and Peter Huntley Productions

Lizzie Siddal

by Jeremy Green

Directed by Lotte Wakeham

‘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.


Tom Bateman
Daniel Crossley
Simon Darwen
James Northcote
Emma West
Jayne Wisener


Jeremy Green


Lotte Wakeham

Set and Costume Design

David Woodhead

Lighting Design

Howard Hudson

Sound Design

Andy Graham
Suitable for
24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL
020 7503 1646

© 2017-19 Arcola Theatre.
Arcola Theatre Production Company is a registered charity no.1108613. Registered as a company limited by guarantee in England no.5242988. Registered Office: 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL.

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