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Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet

Sarah Waters; Adapted by Laura Wade

Oberon Books

“Laura Wade's adaptation of Sarah Waters' 1998 novel has a big heart, a feminist message and is staged...with a witty inventiveness...Wade ingeniously frames the story by presenting it through the eyes of a gavel-wielding Victorian music-hall chairman...This pays off beautifully...a hymn to theatre.” –Michael Billington, Guardian


“It's creative, edgy and self-aware”The Times


“Worth the price of admission for certain brilliant sequences alone”Independent


“There is a carnival of talent in Tipping the Velvet... Wade has done an incisive scalpel job, carving out, crystal-clear, the major calling-points of the heroine's path towards socialism and sapphism.”Observer


“Stage adaptations are notoriously tricky, but no one could accuse Laura Wade's adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel of lacking theatricality...there's lots to admire”Financial Times


“If lesbian fiction is to reach a wider readership – as much, though far from all, of it deserves to do – Waters is just the person to carry the banner.”New York Times


It’s 1887 and Nancy Astley sits in the audience at her local music hall: she doesn’t know it yet, but the next act on the bill will change her life. Tonight is the night she’ll fall in love… with the thrill of the stage and with Kitty Butler, a girl who wears trousers.

Giddy with desire and hungry for experience, Nancy follows Kitty to London where unimaginable adventures await.

Sarah Waters' debut novel, Tipping the Velvet was highly acclaimed and was chosen by The New York Times and The Library Journal as one of the best books of 1998. Reviewers have offered the most praise for Tipping the Velvet's use of humor, adventure, and sexual explicitness. The novel was adapted into a somewhat controversial three-part series of the same name produced and broadcast by the BBC in 2002.


Sarah Waters is a Welsh novelist. She is best known for her novels set in Victorian society and featuring lesbian protagonists, such as Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith.


Laura Wade’s plays include Posh (Royal Court Theatre and West End), Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Alice (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Kreutzer vs. Kreutzer (Globe Theatre, Sydney Opera House and Australian tour), Other Hands (Soho Theatre), Colder Than Here (Soho Theatre and MCC Theatre New York), Breathing Corpses (Royal Court Theatre), Catch (Royal Court Theatre, written with four other playwrights), Young Emma (Finborough Theatre), 16 Winters (Bristol Old Vic Basement) and Limbo (Crucible Studio Theatre, Sheffield). Films include The Riot Club.  Awards include the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Pearson Best Play Award and the George Devine Award. Laura Wade’s plays have been performed in the UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Mexico.

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