Graduate to debut play at Bristol Old Vic

Graduate to debut play at Bristol Old Vic


Bath Spa University graduate to debut play at Bristol Old Vic

Friday, 15 February, 2019

Bath Spa University graduate, Isabella Culver, will be debuting her play ‘The Dissociation of Shirley Mason’ at the Bristol Old Vic on Thursday 28 February.

The play, which won The Open Sessions Playwriting Competition in 2017, focuses on the real life story of Shirley Mason, who was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, and the relationship between three women, a psychiatrist, a journalist and a patient and the power struggle that ensues as these women try to fight for a place in a male dominated society.

Isabella, a playwright based between London and Bristol, graduated from Bath Spa with a First Class BA (Hons) in Creative Writing in 2017. During her time at the university she spent 10 weeks at the Stella Adler Acting Studio in New York City as part of the Global Citizenship Scheme and developed a keen interest in mental health and psychology.

Isabella commented: “I like to explore these topics using narrative that makes them more accessible. Today, with mental health being widely discussed, I hope this play echoes some of our current concerns and also makes us question whether there are practices in psychiatry that we could improve.”

Commenting on her time at Bath Spa, Isabella added: “We had weekly workshop sessions with professional playwright and theatre maker, Sharon Clark, who was a phenomenal teacher, as well as visiting lecturers and readings with actors.

“During my final year at Bath Spa I wrote ‘The Dissociation of Shirley Mason’ for my dissertation. I had a huge amount of inspirational professors, in particular Sharon who was my script writing mentor and who encouraged me to apply for the Open Sessions Playwriting Competition.”

Isabella is also an actress and during the production phase for ‘The Disassociation of Shirley Mason’, Isabella also performed in a one woman show called ‘#GunSh0w’, written by fellow Open Sessions writer Connor Macleoud. The show was performed at The Rondo Theatre as part of the Bath Fringe and at The Grand Opening of Bristol Old Vic’s new Weston Studio.

Following the first run of ‘The Disassociation of Shirley Mason’, Isabella has plans to begin producing and to perform in her recently finished play ‘FLORIDA SNOW’, an autobiographical play.

For more information on the variety of courses available at Bath Spa, including Creative Writing, visit the course pages.

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