AsOne’s Mary Anning play revisited

DORSET-based professional theatre company AsOne is touring a revised multi-media version of a compelling play about the Lyme Regis fossil hunter Mary Anning. The tour begins on Wednesday 25th March with Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange.

On Thursday 26th it is at the Shelley Theatre at Boscombe, Friday 27th at Bristol’s Alma Tavern Theatre, Saturday 28th’s Exeter’s Barnfield Theatre, Tuesday 31st at the Atlantic Academy on Portland (in the morning).

The tour continues from Friday 24th April at The Discovery Centre, Winchester, Saturday 25th at Warminster’s Athenaeum, Wednesday 29th at the Plough Arts Centre at Torrington in Devon, Thursday 30th at Weymouth Pavilion, and Saturday 2nd May at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, as part of the town’s May bank holiday weekend Fossil Festival.

In 2012 AsOne theatre company completed a pilot tour of a newly commissioned play, The Cabinet Maker’s Daughter which told the remarkable story of Mary Anning, the world’s first female palaeontologist, who eventually had collectors beating a path to her Lyme Regis fossil depot. They in turn named the fossils after themselves and Mary’s name receded into the mists of time; forgotten.

Jane McKell, artistic director of AsOne, says: “We have decided to revisit the play during an exciting development period; revising it along with the playwright, editing and rewriting creating a 75-minute piece of multi-media theatre; including a techno soundscape score, heightened contemporary physical imagery, puppetry, and projection, as well as a brand new design.

“The playwright (AsOne associate Peter Cooper) has already re-named the play to make sure this amazing woman’s name is remembered: Mary Anning with the tag line ‘The mad woman of Lyme’ – the locals unkindly called her this towards the end of her days, witnessing her drunk, unaware she was on Laudanum for the pain of breast cancer. In 2010, the Royal Society recognised Mary Anning as one of ten British women who have most influenced the development of science.”