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Mana Wāhine: Our Time is Now - Cast confirmed

“An outright feminist triumph and a brilliant call-to-arms”
The Guardian (Shakespeare’s Globe season, London, 2018)


The company set to raise the roof of the Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe for the very last time has been named. An electrifying ensemble will embrace all that is EMILIA - the international premiere of the feminist sensation that has taken London by storm.

“I will never be at peace as long as I have no voice!” (from Emilia)

Responding to the mandate set by highly sought-after UK writer Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, to boldly cast beyond the usual type, director Miriama McDowell is thrilled to helm a direct performing company and crew that is entirely female. The IT girl of the London theatre scene, Malcolm herself will come to New Zealand for opening night, celebrating the first time one of her works has been produced in international waters, and honouring the incredible wāhine working in creative spaces around the world.

Casting has been a thoughtful and elevating process, with McDowell taking a hands-on approach to bring together an ensemble reflecting the social fabric of Aotearoa today, and prioritising women of colour. The final group of 13 women each bring their own unique experience and whakapapa to their roles, playing characters alive with passion and fire, and paying tribute to trailblazers who have fought to be heard.

“This cast shines a light on all those women who never play the lead role because they don’t fit a mainstream box,” says McDowell. “I can’t wait to work with these formidable actresses who bring such a rich collection of stories just by arriving in the room.”

Bringing to light voices and stories that have been repressed by centuries of patriarchal influence, the story of Emilia can only be told now. Charming in its blatant feminism, this show is a call to arms to motivate and inspire anyone who has been oppressed or felt silenced.

“Why have our stories been ignored? For so long? Ask yourself why. Listen to us. Listen to every woman who came before you. Listen to everyone woman with you now.” (from Emilia)

The cast of Emilia is …drumroll…

Acushla Tara Kupe
Emilia I
Jennifer Van Epps
Emilia II
Fiona Collins
Emilia III
Bree Peters
Mary Sidney/ Midwife/Mary
Rashmi Pilapitiya
Lord Howard/Judith
Batanai Mashingaidze
Shakespeare / Margaret Johnson/Hester
Grace Bentley
Lady Helena/ Eve/Dave
Celeste De Freitas
Lady Cordelia/ Alphonso Laniera
Roimata Templeton
Lord Henry Carey / Lady Margaret Clifford
Saraid de Silva
Lady Katherine/ Desdemona
Sarah Houbolt
Priest / Lord Collins/ Flora
Millie Manning
Lady Ann Clifford / Bob
Luci Hare
Susan Bertie/ Emilia(O)


EMILIA closes the Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe farewell season,
playing March 4- 22, 2020. Book at www.popupglobe.co.nz


About Emilia
Our Time is Now. 400 years ago, in Shakespeare's London, Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. It wasn’t. Could she have been the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets? What of her own poems? Why was her story erased from history? Emilia and her sisters reach out to us across the centuries with passion, fury, laughter, and song. Listen to them. Let them inspire and unite us.

Commissioned by the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Emilia is the third stage work from British playwright and author Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. Emilia was first produced and performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, London in August 2018, where it earned instant popular and critical acclaim before transferring to London's West End where it was a hit. The 2020 Pop-up Globe season marks the international premiere of this rousing modern play.

About Morgan Lloyd Malcolm
Catapulted into the spotlight with the incredible success of Emilia, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm is an exceptionally talented new playwright. A professional writer for sixteen years, Malcolm is a versatile talent who currently has projects happening across television, film, and stage.

Taking only a year to write the acclaimed feminist work, Emilia has already been optioned as a film and Malcolm is currently developing the script for the screen with producer Manon Ardisson (God’s Own Country). Aside from Emilia, Malcolm has had her previous work produced at the Hampstead Theatre and Trafalgar Studios and been commissioned by the Old Vic, Clean Break, and Firehouse Productions. She is developing a book adapting her play The Wasp into a screenplay for Paradise City Films.

Her three works for the stage, Emilia, The Wasp, and Belongings, all centre women and their voices, a deliberate choice made by Malcolm to use her own privilege and power to help level the playing field – prioritising “writing good, complex, interesting roles for womxn to get their teeth into.”

About Pop-up Globe
The Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe theatre is a three-story, 16 sided, 633 person capacity theatre. It unites cutting edge scaffold technology with a 400 year old design to transport audiences back in time. No matter where they sit or stand in the theatre, audience members are never more than 15 metres from the heart of the action on stage. Sometimes they will even find themselves part of the play...

Emilia will be the final show to grace the stage of The Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe Theatre, and first non-Shakespeare production to do so. A contemporary play to round out the journey started in 2016, before Pop-up Globe embarks overseas to represent New Zealand on the world stage.

About Anthony Harper
Anthony Harper is an award-winning, internationally ranked, national law firm.

For more than 150 years we have helped and advised New Zealand and international clients achieve their goals. Our high performing, internationally ranked solicitors are deeply immersed in our 27 specialist areas. As one of the largest law firms in New Zealand we are proud to be able to solve the most complex of problems for our clients, whilst fostering an inclusive work environment and enhancing our local communities. There is a difference. For further information, see www.anthonyharper.co.nz.


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