The Drama On 3 audio production - which will be available on-demand after broadcast - is part of our contribution to the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 programme, and features a range of incredible talent - from actress Meera Syal to rising Warwickshire songwriter/musician Ellie Gowers.
Middlemarch is an extraordinary 19th-century novel about provincial lives during significant social change, such as the building of new railways. It creates an engrossing web of individual experiences in an unidentified Midlands town, largely modelled on Coventry, where the Warwickshire-born author George Eliot lived for a time.
These bold new Middlemarch Monologues weave together eight 21st-century voices. Covid-19, Brexit, HS2 and Black Lives Matter feature, mirroring the social upheavals of George Eliot’s day. The characters are updated versions of the originals. Dorothea Brooke becomes Thea, ardent climate change activist struggling with mental health; Dr Lydgate meets and falls heavily for Rosanna Vincy, beautiful South Asian social media influencer and thwarted pianist; Will Ladislaw is a Jamaican-Polish-heritage writer-cum-postman, hurt by the acts of racism filling up his social media and working out what to do about it. There are subtle references to the book and George Eliot lines to be found within the monologues.
Middlemarch Monologues will be broadcast on Sunday 20 March on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm.
A very special staged reading will follow in May 2022 at Warwick Arts Centre (details to follow).
Tracy Dagley / with Julia Rounthwaite
Writer Amanda Dalton, director Polly Thomas
Dorothea Brooke / with Ellie Turner
Writer Ellice Stevens, director Anastasia Osei-Kuffour
Tertius Lydgate / with Henry Lloyd Hughes
Writer Amanda Dalton, director Anastasia Osei-Kuffour
Rosanna Vincy / with Sharan Phull
Writer Sabiha Mank, director Anastasia Osei-Kuffour
Mrs Cadwallader / with Meera Syal
Writer Tanika Gupta, directed by Polly Thomas
Mary Garth / with Sinead Matthews
Writer Leanne Allen, director Polly Thomas
Will Ladislaw / with Calvin Demba
Writer Liz Mytton, director Anastasia Osei-Kuffour
John Raffles / with Ashley Gerlach
Writer Debris Stevenson, director Polly Thomas
About the writers
Leanne Allen is a new writer from the Midlands. Work includes Connections drama series for community radio and BBC Radio 4, autumn 2020; Jazz and Dice, BBC Radio 4, June 2021; and Night of the Living Flatpacks, community radio drama, November 2021. She wrote a short film for Theatre of Debate for the 'COVID And Me' campaign, 2020.
Amanda Dalton is a poet and playwright. Recent pamphlets include Notes on Water (smith|doorstop 2022) and 30 Poems In Thirty Days (Arc Publications 2021). She has written many dramas for BBC Radio 4 and 3 and features in BBC Radio 3’s Northern Drift. A version of her Notes on Water will be a Radio 3’s Between The Ears March 2022.
Tanika Gupta is a playwright and screen writer. Recent work for stage: ‘A Doll’s House’, Lyric Hammersmith, ‘Lions and Tigers’ Globe Theatre and ‘Hobson’s Choice’, Manchester Royal Exchange. She is currently adapting Monica Ali’s ‘Brick Lane’ for BBC Radio 4.
Sabiha Mank is a playwright and screenwriter. She has had work shared by Belgrade Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Kali Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe and BBC Writersroom. Her most recent project is writing for Hear Me Now: Audition Monologues - Volume 2.
Liz Mytton is playwright and poet from Bradford, currently Artistic Lead at Theatre In Flow and Women’s Supper Club, a Theatre of the Oppressed project promoting systems change in Greater Manchester. Liz has worked extensively in the Midlands, most recently at Belgrade Theatre on a co-created play with young people, National Theatre Connections.
Ellice Stevens is a writer, performer and co-director of theatre company Breach. Normally writing with her partner, Billy Barrett, Ellice's writing credits for stage include Scotsman Fringe First winning shows It's True, It's True, It's True and Tank. She co-wrote a BBC short film, Gaia, which will be released later in 2022. She is currently developing with Breach a verbatim musical about Section 28 for 2023.
Debris Stevenson is a hybrid-playwright, dyslexic educator, Grime-poet, queer ex-Mormon and pro-raver. Debris' critically acclaimed debut play Poet in da Corner (Royal Court) was followed by the show's album release (Accidental Records) and UK tour 2020. Debris is currently developing several TV projects alongside her new show The Write to Rave, about her accidental career as an international raver.
Production Credits: Co Directors Polly Thomas and Anastasia Osei-Kuffour. Producer Polly Thomas. Original music Ellie Gowers. Sound design Eloise Whitmore. Executive Producer Eloise Whitmore. A Naked Production for BBC Radio 3
- Middlemarch Monologues composer and musician Ellie Gowers visits us on 21 May 2022 - Book Tickets.