Dr Marie Stopes escapes the storm

ONE of the most controversial women of the 20th century, Dr Marie Stopes changed the way we think about sex – and 100 years after the publication of her best known book, a Dorset theatre company is telling the story of her years on Portland, in a new play that is touring the region from 15th October.

Marie Stopes’ strong views on sex and contraception gave women a new and graphic understanding of the physiology, pleasure, and consequences of sex. Her books were condemned by the Catholic Church but their relevance is still discussed today. Much is known about her work but who was the real Marie Stopes?

Escaping the Storm, by Peter John Cooper, shows Stopes at her rugged island retreat where she enjoyed writing poetry, exploring the island’s rich Jurassic fossil forests and mingling with the locals.

The play, with AsOne founder Jane McKell in the title role, will receive its premiere on 15th October as part of the Dr Marie Stopes’ Weekend Festival organised by the Portland Museum to mark the centenary of the publication of her best-selling book, Married Love. It is produced by AsOne in association with the Portland Museum, and the adjacent Pennsylvania (Castle) Estate.

After the premiere at Pennsylvania Castle on Monday 15th October, Escaping the Storm will also be Portland’s Royal Manor Theatre on Tuesday 16th, the Shelley Theatre at Bournemouth on Thursday 18th, Crediton Arts Centre on Friday 19th, Forest Arts at New Milton on Wednesday 24th and the Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis on Thursday 25th. There are 2019 dates planned including Dorchester, Weymouth, Burnham on Sea and Warminster.