Miss Johnson

Commissioned by Royal Central School (2015)

“On battered wooden barriers ...on slabs of wet rock ...on strips of shingle and seaweed, I see for the first time what art - my art – could be.”

Excluded from the life class at art school, young Laura Knight rises to become one of Britain’s most celebrated painters. As the Royal Academy’s first female member, she courts and challenges the art establishment throughout her life. Laura’s curiosity for untold stories takes her from racially segregated Baltimore to the circus Big Top but it’s the fall of the Third Reich which offers her greatest artistic challenge.

From Nottingham to Nuremberg, this large-cast, multi-role play tells the story of a pioneering artist and the people she painted, a wife and working woman, and the creator of The Dock, Nuremberg: ‘one of the most powerful depictions of war ever produced’.

Facts & Figures

Written for Central’s MA Acting students, the play was researched and developed over a year by the writer, director and cast

Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) was one of Britain’s most popular artists and her work covers an extraordinary breadth of subject and social concerns.

In 2015, the National Portrait Gallery staged a major retrospective of her work, A Life in Portraits.

Miss Johnson was inspired by The Dock, Nuremberg, a Radio 4 15 Minute Drama based on Laura Knight’s diaries of the Nuremberg Trial.

Also by Amanda Whittington