Lizzie Siddal by Jeremy Green at Arcola Studio 1

Copperhead Productions and Peter Huntley Productions presents Lizzie Siddal, a play about the woman who was ‘Ophelia’ in Millais' famous painting, at the Arcola Studio 1, in east London 20 Nov to 21 Dec 2013.

Written by Jeremy Green, directed by Lotte Wakeham, designed by David Woodhead, lighting by Howard Hudson. Cast includes Emma West (Lizzie Siddal).

London, 1849. Lizzie is plucked from the obscurity of a bonnet shop to model for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - an intoxicating group of young painters bent on revolutionising the Victorian art world. Inspired by their passion, Lizzie throws herself headlong into their lives and their art. She nearly dies in the creation of 'Ophelia', but the painting is a triumph. Lizzie wants more and dares to dream of being an artist in her own right. Falling in love with the charismatic Dante Gabriel Rossetti, she becomes his muse, and finally fulfils her dream of being an independent artist. But independence isn't always what it seems, love can be fickle and all art is a kind of deception. Lizzie is betrayed, and her response sparks a devastating denouement that still stirs debate to this day.

(‘Ophelia’, by British artist Sir John Everett Millais, is one of the world’s most popular and recognisable paintings. Currently on display in Tate Britain's permanent collection, it depicts the tragic drowning of Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. It has an estimated market value of around £30 million.)

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