The Break of Day – photo Millie Amies

When men talk, women  take action. When men act, women take revenge.

This year’s UEA Drama season, running from 3 – 8 December, features two plays by Timberlake Wertenbaker, one of the UK’s most renowned contemporary female playwrights and currently the Chair in Playwrighting at the University Of East Anglia.

In an increasingly divisive political time when fears over borders, ecological collapse, and censorship are commonplace, UEA Theatre Productions are staging The Break of Day, and The Love of the Nightingale, two plays with strong themes of feminism, displacement and reclaiming the future.


Set in the 90’s as a contemporary homage to Chekhov’s Three Sisters. Three female friends – a high-powered journalist, a university professor and a fading singer-songwriter meet at a 40th birthday party. They grapple with their sense of identity in the face of work, feminism, and the importance of motherhood. Have they left it too late to have children? Was it a mistake to devote their lives to work? And how far will they go to reclaim the empowerment of their youth?


First performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Love of the Nightingale combines elements from ancient Greek myth with contemporary issues, and an updated setting that is especially relevant in the #MeToo age. It tells a story of displacement across borders, the silencing of victims and the power of female revenge, through the tragic tale of the rape of Philomela by her brother-in-law and her sister’s gruesome retribution. The play is re-imagined with an intriguing twist of Balinese design and influence.

“The plays don’t shy away from the big questions that confront anyone us in our precarious and volatile times. They are perfect material for those who are seeking to understand the world through an engagement with the theatre and its literature.” – James Robert Carson, Director

The productions showcase the talents of the UEA third year drama students, a forty-strong company that has given early exposure to the likes of Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown, Official Secrets), Olivia Vinall (The Woman in White, National Theatre Live: King Lear), and Greg James (BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show).

UEA Theatre Productions offer professionally directed, accessible, high quality theatre, with high production values at affordable ticket prices.

Timberlake Wertenbaker was born in the USA, brought up in the Basque region and has lived in the UK since the 1960s. Although respected as one of our best female playwrights she rarely gives interviews and her name is not well known beyond the theatrical world. Her best known and most frequently performed play Our Country’s Good won an Olivier Award for Best New Play. She has adapted many works for radio, including War and Peace and the Elena Ferrante novels and written screenplays for television and film. She is currently working on new commissions for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Of her work she says: “What interests me in all my plays is really the area where the public situation hits the private person, how it affects their courage and their decisions.”

James Robert Carson is a Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia. He has over 20 years of professional directing experience with the likes of The Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Greek National Opera, Holland Park Opera, and the Aldeburgh Festival. He has worked for touring companies and directed commercial productions of Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Associate Director and acting coach Julie Osburn’s filmography includes Gilmore Girls, E.R, The Girl Next Door, and Intolerable Cruelty. Julie is an alumnus of Uta Hagen and Larry Moss’ schools of acting.

Norwich Eye has reviewed many of the shows produced at the UEA Drama Studio. They offer consistently high standards in a pleasant setting, and are always worth a look.



The updated performance schedule for Break of day is as follows:

Tuesday 3rd of December- Evening
Wednesday 4th of December-Matinee
Friday 6th December- Evening
Saturday 7th December-Matinee

The updated performance schedule for the Love of the Nightingale is as follows:

Wednesday 4th December-Evening
Thursday 5th December-Evening
Saturday 7th December-Evening
Sunday 8th December- Matinee

Evening shows are at 19.30, matinee shows are at 14.00

UEA Drama Studio, University Of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ
TICKETS £7 / £5 Concessions from

Facebook: @wertenbakerUEA
Instagram: @wertenbakerUEA
Twitter: @wertenbakerUEA