OCT 29 - NOV 21
Tuesday – Saturday (7.45pm), matinees Saturday and Sunday at 3pm, 120 minutes
First produced in 1965, The Killing of Sister George is a controversial, poignant and darkly funny exploration of emotional dependence and the gap between public perception and private reality. Originally most famous for its undertones of domestic abuse and then-illegal lesbian relationships, Artful Theatre's 50th Anniversary production now focuses on the 'behind-the-scenes' world at the BBC where perception is everything. Recent revelations surrounding Jimmy Saville and national news stories about Jeremy Clarkson’s antics and the sacking of Tom Jones bring this sharply into focus. Was this iconic play an unwitting glimpse into the tawdry, sordid media world of the 1960s as it really was? - AND - Has anything really changed?
By day, June Buckridge has played the beloved and cheerful district nurse 'Sister George' in the popular radio soap Applehurst for six years, but that doesn't stop BBC executives from killing her off. By night, overbearing June swills gin, chews on cigars and vents her anger and frustration on her much younger flatmate, Childie. But behind her fearsome exterior is a fragile, insecure woman all too aware of her fading power of attraction and terrified that her life is falling apart.
The death of a popular soap character is a regular occurrence in 2015, however way back in 1954 when the character of Grace Archer was killed off in a stable fire in the BBC radio serial The Archers there was a national outcry and a healthy boost in the radio drama’s audience figures. Frank Marcus wrote The Killing of Sister George around a very similar scenario for the stage in 1965, which became his most famous play.