The Fossil Lady of Lyme
Imagine: the world is only 6000 years old, and everything was created in six days…
This was the England into which Mary Anning was born – just two hundred years ago.
Then came the pioneering work of geologists, studying rocks and fossils. The accepted truths about the world were blown apart; it became clear that there had been a vast prehistoric age, with unimaginable monsters roaming the earth and swimming in the seas.
Mary Anning played a key part in these extraordinary times. She discovered the first complete fossil of a prehistoric reptile in Great Britain – at the age of twelve. Throughout her life, she continued to make ground-breaking and spectacular discoveries.
In Alison Neil’s highly entertaining play, Mary Anning tells her fascinating story, and that of “the fine clever men of science” who took most of the credit for her work. The tale of her life, her friendships, her struggle to make her mark (and put food on the table) is both amusing and moving.
And… by the end of the show, you will surely know the difference between an ichthyosaur and a plesiosaur!
Alison began her professional acting career in 1978. Before embarking on her one-woman shows, she appeared in numerous theatre productions including the national tour and West End production of Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (playing Ophelia), and Little Lies (with Sir John Mills) playing Beattie Tomlinson in the West End, on national tour and in Canada.
Other UK theatre roles include Elvira in Blithe Spirit, Mrs De Winter in Rebecca, Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, Maria in The School for Scandal, Kitty in Ayckbourn’s Taking Steps, Amelia Sedley in Vanity Fair, Midge in The Hollow and Connie in Allan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus. Alison has worked extensively in children’s theatre, including nine productions at the Polka Children’s Theatre, London and more recently with Krazy Kat Theatre Company. She has also worked in radio, film and television.
Her first one-woman play Bella – The Story of Mrs Beeton opened in 1988 and toured until 2002 to much critical acclaim.
Both Bella – The Story of Mrs Beeton and The Just-William Lady have been adapted for BBC Radio 4 and were first broadcast in 2001.
Alison has written nine one-woman plays to date, all based on real women from history.
In 2018, Alison captivated the audience at the Church Stretton Arts Festival with her play Truly Yours, C. B. using many of Charlotte Brontë’s own words to portray her life and that of the famous Brontë family.
Alison has a Website