Vita & Virginia

Vita & Virginia is the portrayal of the relationship between two of England's most celebrated female writers of the 20th century: Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. These two women met for the first time at a dinner party in 1922. Virginia was 40 years old; Vita was 10 years younger. They were both married and Vita had two young sons. Vita was a "Sapphist" and had many lesbian affairs before and after Virginia. Her husband, Harold Nicholson, had affairs with other men. Despite this, they were both happily married. Virginia was married to Leonard. They were childless and she was sexually inexperienced - almost frigid.

Vita and Virginia's affair lasted about 20 years, until Virginia's suicide in 1941. Vita admired Virginia's sharp mind and brilliant skills as a writer, while Virginia was most impressed by Vita's aristocratic background and temperament. Shortly after meeting Vita for the first time, Virginia wrote in her diary: "She shines with a candle-lit radiance, pink glowing, grape clustered, pearl hung". The meeting with Vita marked, for Virginia, a sexual awakening: "These Sapphists love women," she wrote. "Friendship is never untinged with animosity".

Their lesbian affair is particularly fascinating when set against the background of the Victorian England they lived in, where any deviation from a "normal" marriage was deemed unthinkable.

The dialogue in this play is taken from hundreds of letters the two women wrote to each other throughout their long and extraordinary relationship. 


Photos: Tai Segel (PanCake Beaver)

Vita & Virginia

By: Dame Eileen Atkins


When: March 2011
Where: Café Teatret, Copenhagen

Directed by

Barry McKenna


Sue Hansen-Styles
Angela Heath-Larsen


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