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Emma Francis as Vita.
Ruth Cattell as Virginia.


(Andrew Girdwood)


Emma Francis and

Ruth Cattell smash it. Each gives incredible, powerful, provocative yet heart-felt, down-to-earth performances.


I’m sure both Vita and Virginia would roll in their graves at my use of phrases like “smash it”, but that’s all I have for you in an analogy that might also feature “home run” and “knock it out of the park”.


(Lili Spratt)

A powerful and understated telling of Vita Sackville and Virginia Woolf’s mysterious relationship.


I will never forget the faces of these actors as they show a desire for connection, to be understood, and to be free. I empathise with Virginia Woolf in a new way after this performance. A newfound perspective that reading Mrs. Dalloway or studying her at school couldn’t quite engage with. The powerful craft of acting.


(Cindy Marcolina)

 It’s a tender, relentlessly magnetic piece of Sapphic theatre.


They delight in poking and teasing each other in a playful push-and-pull that conceals the shackles of the societal demands they face. Unsurprisingly, the production is built on a fine appreciation of language and character. Woolf’s beautiful descriptions of Sackville-West sit side by side with the latter’s blasé recollections of her travels. 




(Cosmo Adair)

I left the theatre feeling pensive and tremendously moved by a production which represents the very best of what theatre can do; it is intimate and concise, and reminds its audience of what it means to be a human being through its illustration of how tremendous and how terrible a thing like love can be.

Throughout the play, only the best, most evocative extracts from their correspondence are made use of. This guarantees an intense and snappy play which represents the very best of what theatre is capable of.


(Anne Louise Fortune)

This is an immensely intimate, compelling, and tender story tracing the beginning, middle, and tragic end of an intense romantic relationship. Highly recommended.

Emma Francis imbues a sense of almost impishness into Vita’s words. Sackville-West was a poet, and her lyrical writing style is apparent even within these personal letters.

Ruth Cattell as Virginia is more measured, more reserved, and more cautious in her correspondence. For this piece of theatre it creates a compelling contrast between the two women.

media reviews


(Jemima Hawkins)

The raw honesty and sensitivity of this love story was refreshing for a Fringe production, with a minimal set placing all focus on the stylish performances of the two women.

The light humour of their deep friendship captured the audience who were then beautifully navigated through flirtation, romance, devotion and finally jealousy with, as you might expect, the play closing on the death of Woolf.

(For the Old Joint Stock production)

‘Vita and Virginia’ is a beautifully crafted and performed two-hander which takes us into the heart of the famous ‘Orlando’ author and her 20-year relationship with fellow writer Vita Sackville-West. One of Virginia Woolf’s most famous novels, ‘Orlando’, is inspired by her relationship with Vita. Widely regarded as ‘the longest and most charming love letter in literature’, after seeing this ‘Vita & Virginia’ it is now at the top of my reading list: a fitting tribute to two very special performances.


Where did it begin?

In 2019 we discovered an incredible play by Eileen Atkins, which tells how Virginia Woolf met fellow author Vita Sackville-West in London in the 1920s, beginning a 20-year relationship which inspired one of Virginia's most famous novels, Orlando. 

Written in 1992, using letters and phone conversations between the two married women, plus diary entries, it takes the audience through their evolving relationship from flirtation, infatuation, passion, deep love, jealousy, to, in the end, enduring friendship.

We decided to create a 60 minute version. 

Vita & Virginia is a beautifully crafted play consisting entirely of words that were actually written or spoken by Vita and Virginia, so we were very mindful of the flow of the original version when proposing the cuts. 


People know Virginia Woolf suffered from mental health issues and drowned herself. But it's her wit, vulnerability, tendency towards snobbish, jealousy and near-obsession for Vita, and also her deep love for her husband, Leonard that had been conveyed so brilliantly by Eileen Atkins.  To communicate all of that within just 60 minutes was no mean feat!

What happened next?

We proposed the cuts, received full approval from Eileen Atkins, entered it into various theatre festivals in 2021, received some wonderful scores and comments, and then performed it to the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain in May 2023.

We then took it to the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2023, and based on its success, we're currently touring it in the UK in the Midlands.

Initially directed by Roger Seabury, the play was re-worked by Richard Delahaye to be suitable for The Edinburgh Fringe and other intimate settings.  This amateur production of Vita and Virginia is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.


Vita & Virginia is for anyone interested in Virginia Woolf, beautiful literature,

or simply ... love.


"This was excellent ... thoroughly recommend if you get the chance to see it ... and what a wonderful find - secret garden at Katie Fitzgerald's in Stourbridge - great venue!"

Lorraine Horton


A beautifully sensitive portrayal of a remarkable love story

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Claire Nicholson

Chair: Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain

Absolutely stunning, stylish, eccentric, confident and honest

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National Dramatic and Operatic Society




AUGUST 6 (evening)

Robinson College Chapel, Cambridge



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