Aurora Metro Books

Plays

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Adapted from Victor Hugo's novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is 'remarkably faithful to the author's original intention: a faultless production.' (The Morning Star). Cast: eight minimum

I Have Before Me A Remarkable Document Given To Me By A Young Lady From Rwanda

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A burnt-out English poet, on a Creative Writing residency in London, meets and becomes attached to a young woman who is trying to write a book about her experience of surviving the massacre in Rwanda. Initially, their differences of culture and language act as a barrier, but eventually they manage to find a way to trust and communicate the changing nature of their lives and to come to terms with their experiences.

Inigo

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Follow Inigo (Ignatius of Loyola) from ambitious, hot-headed, street-fighting sensualist to his co-founding (with a radical group of young friends) of the Society of Jesus in the 16th century. In Jonathan Moore's bold, visceral, funny and poetic play, he asserts Loyola's position as counter-cultural radical. But it is not only for those interested in Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits. It is also a political allegory about those who fight for change against an implacable Establishment. With the current Pope (Francis) a Jesuit, this is a timely exploration of one of history's major spiritual leaders and reformers: a story of a spiritual journey from sinner to saint. Published in conjunction with the play's run at the Pleasance Theatre, London (2015), it explores the life and times of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Of special interest to Catholic schools, colleges and seminaries. The play has been translated into Spanish.

In the Workhouse

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

In the Workhouse was one of the most controversial plays produced by Edy Craig’s Pioneer Players as part of a triple bill with Chris St John’s The First Actress and Cicely Hamilton’s Jack and Jill and a Friend (King’s Hall, 1911). It is an exposé of the iniquities of the Coverture Act, which decreed that a married woman had no separate legal existence from her husband and therefore meant that if her husband entered – or left – the workhouse, she and her children were obliged to go with him. Set in a workhouse ward, where a group of mothers, married and unmarried, look after their children, it exposes the contradictions of a system where Penelope, a respectable, secure, mother of five and unmarried is freer than respectable Mrs Cleaver who returns from her appeal to the Board of Guardians to announce that legally she has no right to leave the workhouse, even though she has work to go to and a home available for herself and her children. The play, with its refusal to condemn vice and the unmarried mother, was either condemned for offensiveness or acclaimed for its importance. The Pall Mall Gazette compared it to the work of Eugene Brieux “which plead for reform by painting a terrible, and perhaps overcharged, picture of things as they are . . . Such is the power of the dramatic pamphlet, sincerely written and sincerely acted. There is nothing to approach it in directness and force. It sweeps all mere prettiness into oblivion”. Two years after the play was produced, the law was changed, in large measure due to Nevinson’s and other suffragists’ campaigns. The play was revived in 1979 by Mrs Worthington’s Daughters, a feminist theatre company, directed by Julie Holledge in a double-bill with Susannah Cibber’s The Oracle (1752).

The Iranian Feast

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

In modern-day Tehran, you can never predict how life will turn out. Part thriller, part cookery lesson, this is the story of a family struggling to deal with the challenges of a regime where secrecy and surveillance are an everyday part of life. Abbas calls together his wife and daughter and their friends and neighbours for an impromptu feast. Going in the pot are fresh herbs, spices, sweet vegetables and Eliâ’s mother’s secret ingredient . . .

The play explores the reasons behind migration, how people make compromises to survive in societies where freedom is limited.

Jenufa, Her Step-daughter

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Produced for the first time on November 9, 1890, at the National Theatre in Prague, the play fuelled a fierce controversy between the advocates of realism and their opponents. It was slated by the critics, who wrote: 'Everything in it is covered by the frost of baseness, vulgarity, foolishness and contemptibility. . . ' but it was defended by the director of the theatre, who wrote to the newspaper: ' . . . it would be a fatal error, if the National Theatre were to close its doors to new movements . . . ' which ensured the debate went on and paved the way for the style of realism in Czech drama to become established. Unfortunately, the controversy led Gabriela Preissova, the 28-year-old author to give up playwriting altogether.

Based on two real but separate crimes, Preissova set out to portray 'a barren woman haunted by the longing for a child'. The Kostelnicka character provides a fascinating female role, a woman full of pride in her achievements as a widowed working parent, who has devotedly brought up her step-daughter. She is also a highly respected member of the church, who is entrusted to lead processions, cure the sick and oversee burials. Jenufa, her step-daughter who has an illegitimate child and is abandoned by the father, Steva, tests the Kostelnicka's strict moral principles in the play. The Kostelnicka's efforts to avoid the ensuing scandal lead her into deceit, humiliation and ultimately, murder. Janacek saw the play as a tragic love story and was attracted to the Slovak setting and folkloric elements. His adaptation of the play into an opera libretto, involved editing out details of characterisation and plot. Preissova's play offers us a more psychologically complex Kostelnicka as the central character in a community whose moral attitudes are implicitly questioned.

Jim’s Leg

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Originally published in Votes for Women, 29 Jan 1911, Jim’s Leg is a comedy of reversed sex roles. This device is a familiar one, most often enacted in the political realm in fantasy pieces where women are in control of the machinery of government and men struggle for respect and representation, such as Mary Cholmondeley’s Votes for Men or Alison Garland’s The Better Half. In Jim’s Leg the role reversal is anchored in believable social reality as the speaker recounts how her husband’s losing his leg in an accident with a motor bus has been the best thing to happen to her. Whereas before he used to belittle her work in the home, go out drinking and come home and hit her, now, having had to stay home and look after the children while she did his job as a bottle washer, he has gained an immediate appreciation of what’s involved and even converts to the belief that women should have the vote. While somewhat stereotypical in its representation of East End life, as an account of domestic grind it is vivid and believable. It also acknowledges the devaluation of women’s work outside the home – when the speaker takes over Jim’s bottle washing job, she is paid less than him for it – an issue on which the AFL was particularly active. This was largely due to their own experience as women in the acting profession, where pay was based on an individual’s standing as a performer rather than on gender bias, a situation that was highly unusual in the Edwardian workplace (though unemployment was high throughout the profession). The monologue recognizes the draining nature and thanklessness of domestic labour and childcare in a way which remains immediate and contemporary. A short radio version was aired on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour in November 1999 as part of an item on the 90th anniversary of the AFL.

The Jungle Book

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A timeless story brought to life for the stage in this vibrant version by the award-winning children’s playwright Neil Duffield. The play has been performed in the UK, USA and Canada. Mowgli, the lost boy and his loyal friends Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther transport us to the jungle in a story that has touched the hearts of generations. Can Mowgli discover the secret of man’s red flower? Can he fight off the terrifying tiger, Shere Khan? Will he be able to overcome the many dangers of the jungle and live there happily? Or will he leave his wild friends and join the humans in the village? Faithful to Kipling’s original beloved story, this adaptation has proven popular with theatres worldwide.

Leonora’s Dance

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Four women share the house of a ballet dancer, whose contact with the supernatural lays the ghosts of the past to rest.

Listen To Your Parents

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Gives us a teenager's view of domestic violence through poetry and football. Winner of the Commission of Racial Equality Race in the Media Award.

Aurora Metro Books is an independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction, YA fiction and drama which was established by Cheryl Robson over 25 years ago. Based in Richmond-upon-Thames, near London, the company initiated the Virginia Prize for Fiction in 2009, in honour of Virginia Woolf, who lived for ten years in the same area that the office is based. With a growing list of high quality adult fiction, featuring both new and established novelists, the company has published select international authors and work in translation from around 20 languages.

With over 120 drama plays in print, including works from Robin Soans, Manjula Padmanabhan and Germaine Greer, as well as a formidable list of non-fiction books on theatre, Aurora Metro Books has built a wide-ranging and highly contemporary list of new drama, with collections of women’s drama, international drama and drama by black and Asian writers, proving to be popular with colleges and universities. Aurora Metro Books’ list of plays for Young People is the finest in the UK.