Mary Mary – a mother and daughter who changed feminism and English literature

Mary Mary Camden Fringe IMG_1314.jpg

Ashley Pearson and Ashleigh Loeb. Photograph by Shay Rowan

Two hundred years ago, on a dark and stormy night during the “Year Without Summer,” a young Mary Shelley, challenged by Byron, sets out to write the ultimate horror… Frankenstein.

Mary, Mary, at the Lion and Unicorn, 20-21 August at 2pm, examines the lives of two of Britain’s greatest female minds – Mary Shelley and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.

Feminist writer Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication for the Rights of Women in 1792, led a radically unconventional life, marrying political philosopher William Godwin at St Pancras Church. She died, while giving birth to her daughter.

Writer and director Ashley Pearson said: “Mary Mary is about motherhood and the act of creation and what happens when artists create something, tying that back to Frankenstein and how that story was created.”

Producer and performer Ashleigh Loeb said: “Mary Wollstonecraft was the first writer of a feminist text in the English language. Everybody knows the name Mary Shelley but not as many know the name Mary Wollstonecraft and not many know that they were mother and daughter.

“Our show is about mothers and daughters. Mary Shelley did not know her mother because her mother died in childbirth. So what is it like to grow up without a mother?”

Mary Mary artwork Camden Fringe

In a family of women ahead of their time, Mary is confronted with ghosts of her past, and grapples with the ultimate question – what happens when the dead come back to life?

Theatre Mensch premiere their new work marking 200 years since Mary Shelley started writing her Gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein, and celebrating the lives of an extraordinary mother and daughter who never had the chance to know one another.

Ashley Pearson is staff director with OperaUpClose and associate artist with Riot Act. Her writing credits include Coverage (Courtyard Theatre) and Music oft hath Such a Charm (OperaUpClose), and she has worked as a literary researcher at the Ustinov studio, Theatre Royal Bath. Ashley studied Theatre Directing at East 15 Acting School and Liberal Arts at Quest University Canada.

Produced and performed by Theatre Mensch’s Artistic Director Ashleigh Loeb, who has worked with the Arcola Theatre and Little Angel Theatre. She has played several characters in Big Finish Productions’ fantasy audio series Pathfinder Legends. She is a graduate of East 15 Acting School.

Also starring Francesca Burgoyne, co-founder of Blue Sparrow Theatre, which wrote and performed Day of the Dog at last year’s Camden Fringe. Francesca has recently performed in Emilia Galotti (The Space, Baron’s Court Theatre) and in Wind in the Willows (Brentwood Theatre). She is a graduate of East 15 Acting School.

For more details and tickets:

Mary Mary 3

Photograph @ashleyspearson on Twitter 



About Camden Fringe Voyeur

Previews, reviews, news and interviews all from The Camden Fringe
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