from an original work by George Eliot
Helen Edmundson's adaptation of George Eliot's novel, The Mill on the Floss, was first performed by Shared Experience Theatre Company in association with the Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, on 17 March 1994.
Outgrowing – but still hopelessly devoted to – her family, Maggie Tulliver befriends the disfigured Phillip Wakem, son of a local lawyer. But their fathers soon become embroiled in a bitter legal dispute that only the prosperous Wakem can win and the Tullivers find fate dealing them the first harsh hand of many. With their father dead, and their precious mill gone, the family must face up to their cold future together.
Edmundson's adaptation re-imagines Eliot's novel by having three different actors play the heroine Maggie. The three actors play distinct and sometimes contradictory facets of Maggie's character, at times sharing the performing space and interacting with each other. In a review of the Shared Experience production, the drama critic of the Evening Standard noted that 'The device of the three Maggies expresses beautifully the heroine's emotional conflict, with number one arguing for impetuous passion against number two's moral restraint as number three is drawn into a relationship with her cousin's wooer.' The Guardian declared the device ‘thrillingly effective in performance’.
The Shared Experience production was directed by Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale, and designed by Bunny Christie. The cast was Simeon Andrews, Shirley Henderson, Michael Matus, Buddug Morgan, Ian Puleston-Davies, Simon Robson, Clara Salaman and Helen Schlesinger. It toured nationally, including a run at the Tricycle Theatre, London, in May 1994.
Shared Experience revived the play at the New Ambassadors in the West End in 2001.