Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Vita and Virginia

Swan Theatre Amateur Company

Swan Theatre Studio, Worcester


Unravel the relationship between two prolific Bloomsbury luminaries during the 1920s and become drawn into a love affair with a rather tragic ending.

Vita and Virginia has been adapted, from the 500 or more letters between one of the world’s most famous writers Virginia Woolf and aristocratic poet Vita Sackville-West, by Dame Eileen June Atkins, DBE.

Atkins’ play premiered in 1992, just three years after she toured the world in a stage adaptation of Woolf’s collected lectures.

Later this year the movie is coming to the big screens directed by Chanya Button and starring Gemma Arterton as Vita, Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia and Isabella Rossellini as Baroness Sackville.

For a more intimate performance, director Janet Bright, and the Swan Theatre Amateur Company invites the audience to join them up close and personal to delve deeper into the correspondence and matters of the heart between two fascinating women struggling to discover their fluidity of identity.


Sue Hawkins portrays Virginia Woolf as a vulnerable, shy, creative individual seeking approval and love from Ruth Lane as Vita Sackville-West. The two characters certainly have chemistry on set with Vita kicking down the barriers that Virginia has built up around her with her long pins and eventually capturing her affections with a strength and supportiveness to rival the marriages to their husbands.

Vita supports her lover throughout her dark depression and sends letters from her travels to Persia, Berlin, France, always in each other’s thoughts and offering constructive criticism with novels and poems along the way.

It is no surprise that Orlando, published in 1928 by Virginia Woolf is so popular and even considered a feminist classic, as the book, inspired by Vita Sackville-West, describes a poet who changes sex from man to woman.

On March 28, 1941, Virginia committed suicide by filling her overcoat pockets with rocks and walked into the River Ouse after a relapse with her depression. This brings the play to a sad ending leaving the heartbroken Vita with her letters and memories.

This amateur production, presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, is an extremely refreshing performance despite being only two characters on set to captivate the audience with intrigue and suspense. An interesting play and a moving tribute with great sensitivity by skilled performers Sue Hawkins and Ruth Lane.

Tickets are available from Worcester Live Box Office: 01905 611427 or online: priced at £10 (concessions £9). To 21-04-18

Emma Trimble


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