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Modern classic My Mother Said I Never Should in rehearsals at TBTL

Maggie O’Brien and Georgina Ambrey with director Katie Posner. Credit: Robert Day

As the first production of the 2019 Summer Season, Theatre by the Lake is proud to present My Mother Said I Never Should by the award winning playwright Charlotte Keatley, opening in the theatre’s Studio on 23 May.

My Mother Said I Never Should is the most widely performed play ever written by a woman, having now been translated or produced in 31 countries from Japan to Peru. Premiered at Contact Theatre, Manchester, in 1987, and at the Royal Court in 1989, in 2000 the National Theatre named it as one of the Significant Plays of the Twentieth Century. A seminal piece of British theatre, it was described by The Guardian as: ‘a landmark play. The theatrical equivalent of breaking the four-minute mile.’

Theatre by the Lake’s production is directed by Katie Posner, who has just been announced as the new joint Artistic Director of the acclaimed new writing company Paines Plough, and features Georgina Ambrey, Asha Kingsley, Maggie O’Brien and Emily Pithon.

The play weaves together the stories of four women from one family, joining each of them at pivotal moments in their lives as secrets, lies, and momentous decisions reverberate through the generations. Moving back and forth in time, we see their loves, expectations and choices, set against the huge social changes of the 20th century.

In its moving exploration of the relationships between mothers and daughters, and the consequences of breaking the most sacred taboo of motherhood, My Mother Said I Never Should examines the choices we make which determine the course of our lives – and how it is never too late to change.

Katie Posner, the show’s director, said: “There are few plays which excite emotion in audiences in the way My Mother Said I Never Should does. Charlotte Keatley’s matriarchal masterpiece is an enduring classic, and reveals family dynamics that are comedic, tragic and, ultimately, hugely familiar to us all. I love the way we’re all swept up in the drama of this family’s discovery of secrets and uncomfortable truths.”

Playwright Charlotte Keatley, who has visited rehearsals in the last few weeks, added: “I think the reason that the play is done over and over and by all kinds of companies, is because in every generation we want to love and be loved, and find some kind of good work, and make some meaning out of our lives, and that’s still the same. The other thing that’s a bit frustrating is that some of the things that are difficult for women haven’t changed enough. So it still addresses those questions.”

Of TBTL’s production she said: “I am so excited to be having a play on at Theatre by the Lake. It’s an amazing company and artistic talent, and it’s in the hills by the lake – how good is that?!”

Georgina Ambrey, Asha Kingsley and Emily Pithon are also performing in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, with Maggie O’Brien also performing in The Children (both from 6 June). From 1 August Georgina Ambrey, Asha Kingsley and Maggie O’Brien go on to perform in their third production of the Summer rep – Dear Uncle.

Mother Said I Never Should plays in Theatre by the Lake’s Studio from 23 May to 30 October. Tickets are priced from £10; for more information and to book tickets visit or call the box office on 017687 74411.

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