Escaping the Storm

(Marie Stopes on the Isle of Portland)

Written and directed by Peter John Cooper 

Cast; Jane McKell, Eltjo Devries, Phoebe Sharman and Sorcha Martin

Design; Annette Sumption & Sophie Fretwell 

Music; Period archive 

Toured autumn 2018 and spring 2019

The isolated communities of the Isle of Portland on the Dorset coast are shocked to discover the notorious sex campaigner Marie Stopes has bought the Higher Lighthouse.  She hopes it will be her refuge from the storms battering her on the mainland. A collision of cultures is inevitable. How will she change the Islanders’ ways of thinking and how will she be changed by Portland?

Dr Marie Stopes transformed how we think about sex. One of the 20th Century’s most controversial women, her strong views provided graphic understanding of pleasure and consequence of sex. Vilified then by the Catholic Church, Marie Stopes still provokes today. But apart from her work, who was the real Marie Stopes?

Escaping the Storm finds Stopes on Portland; writing, exploring fossil forests, skinny-dipping, and interacting with the locals. Fascinating and formidable – Marie Stopes’ complex private world as controversial as her public one. This first play about Marie Stopes marks 100 years from the publication of Married Love, selected by Melvyn Bragg as one of “12 Books that Changed the World”.

An ensemble of four performers give life to this thought-provoking piece of storytelling by playwright/director Peter John Cooper followed by an optional post-performance Q & A with the AsOne ensemble. 

“Absorbing, informative, captivating and thought provoking” 

“AsOne productions are vibrant and take us to places we haven’t been before –Escaping the Storm was really exceptional – I loved the way the play and cast captured Portland and the unflinching but affectionate warts and all exploration of Marie Stopes”