Tipping the Velvet (play)

Tipping the Velvet is a play based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Sarah Waters, adapted for the stage by Laura Wade. It received its world premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith, in September 2015, before transferring to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh the following month with whom it is a co-production.

Tipping the Velvet
Written byLaura Wade
Date premiered28 September 2015 (2015-09-28)
Place premieredLyric Hammersmith
Setting1887, Victorian England

Production history

Tipping the Velvet has been adapted for the stage by Laura Wade, based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Sarah Waters.[1] The novel was previously adapted into a BBC television series in 2002.[2] On 14 April 2015, it was announced the play would receive its world premiere the same year and would begin previews at the Lyric Hammersmith on 18 September 2015, with an official opening night on 28 September, booking for a limited period until 24 October.[3] The adaption had been in production for around four years.[4]

The play is directed by Lyndsey Turner,[5] with choreography by Alistair David,[6] design by Lizzie Clachan,[7] lighting design by Jon Clark,[6] music by Michael Bruce[6] and sound by Nick Manning.[6] Following its premiere production the play is scheduled to transfer to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, as part of the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Lyceum Theatre company,[8] where it will run from 28 October to 14 November 2015.[9] A typical performance runs two hours and 54 minutes, including one interval of 20 mins.[10]

Speaking about her novel being adapted Waters said she was "thrilled" and that she could "think of no better setting for the play than the lush Lyric interior or the beautiful Lyceum in Edinburgh, and no more exciting creative talents than those of writer Laura Wade and director Lyndsey Turner."[11] In addition Sean Holmes the artistic director of the Lyric speaking about what he commissioned the piece said that “What’s so brilliant about the novel is it is such an upfront, unapologetic celebration of sexuality that just happens to be between two women. “Obviously it’s set at a time when that’s frowned upon but it’s also just really about the journey to love and sexual discovery and the massive, formative journey that applies to everyone, whatever your sexuality is, and yet you never see portrayed between gay women.”[4]

Principal roles and original cast

Character Lyric Hammersmith performer[12][13]
Nancy Astley Sally Messham[14]
Kitty Butler Laura Rogers[14]
Walter Bliss Jared Ashe
Diana Lethaby Kirsty Besterman
Chairman David Cardy
Mother/Dendy/Mrs. Jex/Annie Amanda Hadingue
Sweet Alice Ru Hamilton
Florence Banner Adelle Leonce
Ralph Banner Andy Rush
Blake Sarah Vezmar


  1. "Lyric Hammersmith announces new season". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  2. "Lesbian love story Tipping the Velvet earns strong reviews". bbc.co.uk/news. BBC News. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  3. "London's Lyric Hammersmith to Present World Premiere of Laura Wade's Tipping the Velvet". playbill.com. Playbill. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  4. "Tipping the Velvet to be adapted for stage". theguardian.com. The Guardian. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  5. "Laura Wade to adapt Tipping the Velvet for Lyric Hammersmith". thestage.co.uk. The Stage. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. "TIPPING THE VELVET, CINDERELLA and More Set for the Lyric Hammersmith from Sept 2015". broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  7. "Tipping the Velvet". lyric.co.uk. Lyric Theatre (Hammersmith). Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  8. "Brian Cox and Bill Paterson return to Lyceum for 50th anniversary season". list.co.uk. The List. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  9. "The Lyceum Announces 50th Anniversary Season!". lyceum.org.uk. Royal Lyceum Theatre. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  10. "Tipping the Velvet Dates and Times". lyceum.org.uk. Royal Lyceum Theatre. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  11. "Cox, Paterson, Lochhead and more in special 50th anniversary season for Lyceum". heraldscotland.com. The Herald. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  12. "Full cast announced for Tipping the Velvet". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  13. "Cast and Creative". lyric.co.uk. Lyric Theatre (Hammersmith). Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  14. "Principal cast announced for Lyric Hammersmith's Tipping the Velvet". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
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