Plays by Elinor Cook

The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elinor Cook's The Girl's Guide to Saving the World is a play about friendship, feminism and what it means to be successful. It was first produced as part of the 2014 HighTide Festival, Halesworth, Suffolk on 11 April 2014.

The play centres on a friendship between Jane and Bella, two young women in their late twenties. Bella has had an idea for a blog which might possibly revolutionise the way women (and men) think about each other. Meanwhile, Jane's boyfriend Toby dreams of babies, buggies, and home improvement, even though he can’t properly look after his cat. As they try to make sense of their uncertain worlds, Jane and Bella find themselves falling out of step.

The HighTide Festival production was directed by Amelia Sears with set and costume design by Jamie Vartan. It was performed by Jade Williams, Georgina Strawson and Ben Lambert.

Image of an Unknown Young Woman  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elinor Cook's Image of an Unknown Young Woman is a play about the power of the visual image to focus and incite protest in a country where the authorities will do anything to suppress it. The play was first performed at the Gate Theatre, London, on 4 June 2015.

The play's action takes place in an unnamed country where the people are rising up against a brutal regime. A young woman in a yellow dress has been shot by the police, and when a video of the shooting goes viral, a revolution begins to stir. Ali and Leyla begin to panic – they uploaded the footage, and soon the authorities are after them. Across town, Yasmin is desperate to know if her missing mother is still alive. Halfway around the world, a woman in London wants to help. As a tornado of dissent and violence spreads, everyone’s life is going to change.

The Gate Theatre production was directed by Christopher Haydon and designed by Fly Davis. It was performed by Oliver Birch, Emilie Patry, Isaac Ssebandeke, Eileen Walsh, Anjana Vasan, Ashley Zhangazha, Wendy Kweh and Susan Brown.

Out of Love  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elinor Cook's Out of Love is a play about friendship, love and rivalry between two women over the course of thirty years. It was first produced by Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree Theatre and was first performed on 12 July 2017 in Paines Plough’s Roundabout at Theatr Clwyd. It was shortlisted for the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

The play centres on the relationship between two childhood friends, Lorna and Grace. As girls growing up in a town in the North East of England, they do everything together, sharing crisps, cigarettes and crushes. But when Lorna wins a place at university, and Grace gets pregnant, they suddenly find themselves in starkly different worlds, and their friendship is tested to breaking point and beyond.

The first production was directed by James Grieve and performed by Hasan Dixon, Sally Messham (as Lorna) and Katie Elin-Salt (as Grace).


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elinor Cook's Pilgrims is a play about adventure, betrayal, and man's impulse to conquer the world. It premiered at HighTide Festival, Aldeburgh, on 8 September 2016, before transferring to The Yard Theatre, London, on 20 September, and Theatr Clwyd, Mold, on 19 October 2016. It was co-produced by HighTide, Theatr Clwyd and Vicky Graham Productions in association with The Yard Theatre.

The play revolves around a triangular relationship between two young male mountaineers, the pragmatic Dan and the romantic Will, and a student of folk history, Rachel, with whom they both fall in love. Rachel, however, makes it clear that she rejects the role of the passive woman, subservient to the male hero; she wants to be the hero of her own story. But with the thrill of a climb just days away, it's not just principles, but people, in danger.

The premiere production was directed by Tamara Harvey and designed James Perkins. It was performed by Amanda Wilkin as Rachel, Steffan Donnelly as Will and Jack Monaghan as Dan.

Elinor Cook is a playwright whose work includes: a version of Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea (Donmar Warehouse, 2017); Out of Love (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd/Orange Tree tour, 2017); Pilgrims (HighTide/Theatr Clwyd/The Yard, 2016); Image of an Unknown Young Woman (Gate Theatre, London, 2015); and The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World (HighTide, 2014).
She was the winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2013.
Author photo by Richard Davenport