Tipping The Velvet

Commissioned by Guildhall School of Music and Drama (2009)

Photo: Johanna Town & Nobby Clark

“When you threw that rose to me … I was asleep. No, I was dead. And now, I’m alive. Kitty, do you think I could ever give you up?”

Oyster girl Nancy Astley meets male impersonator Kitty Butler and her fate is sealed. She falls head-over-heels in love, joins her music hall act and takes an exhilarating journey to the high and low-life of Victorian London. Tipping the Velvet conjures up an intoxicating world of ‘grease-paint, wood and spilling beer, of gas and tobacco and hair-oil combined…the essence not of pleasure but of grief.’

From West End renter to East End ‘tom’, Nancy’s rites-of-passage tale comes richly to life in the first ever stage adaptation of Sarah Waters’ joyous novel.

Facts & Figures

Guildhall staged a three-night showcase production of the stage adaptation at the Bridewell Theatre, directed by Kath Rogers.

The production featured original music hall songs including As I Take My Morning Promenade, When the Right Girl Comes Along and If I Ever Cease to Love.

The debut novel by Sarah Waters explores aspects of sexuality, gender and class in Victorian London, imagining a lesbian presence in history where none was recorded.

Also by Amanda Whittington