A Room of One’s Own from Dyad Productions
Thursday, March 30th, 2023 Reviewed by:Lizzie Arnold
For one night only, theatregoers will have the opportunity to see writer and performer Rebecca Vaughan deliver her “twenty-first century take on Virginia Woolf’s celebrated pre-TED talk”. Donning the persona of Virginia Woolf, Vaughan takes the audience on a “trip through the history of literature, creativity and sexual politics”. The critically lauded play is set in the not-so-distant future of 2028, where we are invited to meet Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, and Shakespeare’s imaginary sister, Judith. The trailer http://dyadproductions.com/theatre-productions/a-room-of-ones-own/index.php promises an intimate and dynamic tour of literary history, and closes with an ominous slogan: “whatever you do, Keep Off the Grass.”
Set 100 years after Woolf’s 1928 lectures exploring ‘women and fiction’, the one-hour, one-woman show is named after Woolf’s extended essay exploring the impacts of poverty and sexual inequality on intellectual freedom and creativity, particularly within literature. It is this essay in which Woolf famously declared that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”; Vaughan’s live performance invites contemporary audiences to consider the relevance of her words almost a century later. The play’s impactful nature is clear when perusing the production’s reviews webpage: one reviewer reflected, “how privileged I am to be in a position where I can create”, while another asserted that “Vaughan commands the space with strong physicality and poise reminiscent of Woolf”.
Dyad Productions performs regularly at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. In 2018 Dyad received the Three Weeks Editors’ Award for Cumulative Body of Work: the official Three Weeks publication notes that their reviewer was “moved to tears by their latest offering, declaring the show to be “outstanding” and awarding it an unequivocal five out of five”. Such high critical acclaim is nothing new for Dyad; in one particularly glowing example, the British Theatre Guide remarks that if you “haven’t seen Dyad Productions’ work before, you simply must”, and highlights Vaughan as “one of the most exciting young performers on the British Stage”.
Other productions from the company include Austen’s Women, I, Elizabeth, Christmas Gothic and Female Gothic, which have achieved multiple five-star reviews. Dyad continues to perform their plays on tour across the UK and internationally. On their website, http://dyadproductions.com/, Dyad shares their ethos: “With emphasis on new writing and radical interpretations of existing text, Dyad builds new narrative paradigms that secure the emotional and intellectual engagement between audience and performer.”
Producer, performer and writer Rebecca Vaughan attended Cardiff University for her degree in English Literature; upon its completion she trained at ALRA (the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts), continuing to train in physical theatre with Sachi Kimura, student of Philippe Gaulier. Upon finding herself increasingly interested in theatre production, she became General Manager for Guy Masterson’s Theatre Tours International. Vaughan founded Dyad Productions in 2009 and has played major roles (both literally and figuratively) in many other productions for the company. Her impressive experience in the performing arts spans not only theatre but also film and television, including voiceover work for Olivier Award-winning Morecambe, the role of Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Interview for the BBC.
Costume designer and maker Kate Flanaghan graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with a BA Honours in costume construction. She has been credited as costume maker for multiple successful arts production companies including the Royal Shakespeare company, the Savoy Theatre and BBC Films, and has been Head of Wardrobe at Garsington Opera for nine years. Sound designer Danny Bright has a similarly impressive list of credits: his work as a “sound designer, composer, recordist and sonic manipulator” has appeared at many prestigious arts festivals and galleries, including V&A, Prague Quadrennial, Semaine des Arts and the Hatton Gallery. Flanaghan and Bright have also worked on highly successful Dyad productions with Vaughan previously.
A Room of One’s Own will take place at 7:45pm on Saturday 29th April.