Based on the real life of Marie-Berthe Cazin and profiling female ceramicists, the new musical In Clay returns to the London stage at Upstairs at the Gatehouse this March. A one woman show told from a quaint Parisian kitchen in the late 1930s, ceramicist Marie eagerly awaits her estranged childhood friend, and now celebrated artist, Henrietta Tirman. Marie, having worked alongside male artists throughout her life and career, is rumored to have had credit taken for several pieces, her work being marked by history as created by men. As the imminent arrival of her old friend pushes Marie to reflect on her life, love and loss against the backdrop of the great joys and sorrows of a life devoted to making art, In Clay sculpts a story of an artist plagued by near misses, soundtracked by a vibrant gypsy-jazz score.

In Clay was first presented with a sell-out at VAULT Festival 2023 where it was nominated for Show of the Week and shortlisted for an Off-Fest Award. The song 'Talent' was also nominated for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize 2023. The show had a successful concert at The Other Palace on the main stage in August 2023. Rosalind Ford (Once, UK Tour) will reprise her acclaimed performance as Marie Cazin, with Eleanor Walsh (Heathers, UK Tour) joining the cast as the alternate.

The production will be accompanied by an exhibition celebrating contemporary women ceramicists, curated by Rose Gleadell. International in scope, In Clay: The Exhibition will shine a light on the ways in which women artists are making their mark on the medium with featured artists including Emily Myers, Ngozi Omeje, Ying Zheng, Venetia Berry, Maja Quille, Tessa Eastman, Iku Nishikawa and Rose Schmits.

Writer and Lyricist Rebecca Simmonds said, “In Clay is a story about finding joy in the creative process and what a source of joy the show's journey has been so far. We are delighted to be partnering with the team at Upstairs at the Gatehouse on its next stage of development and look forward to celebrating all things contemporary female and non-binary pottery with the accompanying exhibition. Expect pots to fly, friendships to fray and a night full to the brim with gypsy jazz!"

Rebecca Simmonds is a writer with a master’s degree in Musical Theatre Composition from Goldsmiths, University of London, is a part of the Book, Music & Lyrics Advance Group, and a Selladoor New Writers Programme alumnus. Rebecca's previous work includes The House of Worth, written with composer Roman Benedict, which received its first workshop in 2021. She is currently also developing The Sesh with writer and composer Rob Gathercole (Faking Bad), and a currently untitled show with composer and lyricist Kyla Stroud (Public: The Musical).

Jack Miles is a composer and lyricist from Suffolk with a master’s degree in Musical Theatre Writing from Goldsmiths University. Jack’s wider work includes St. Anne Comes Home as part, a folk musical about community, friendship and compassion, part of Iris Theatre’s summer season in 2020. Additionally, he is also currently developing new musicals Chocolate and Curtis is Trying, as well as Why Do We Return Here? with writer and performer Millie Gaston.

Upstairs at the Gatehouse is an award-winning Off West End theatre in Highgate with a reputation for great musical theatre. We are delighted to be working with Design & Canvas Co. to bring this extraordinary new musical to our stage for the next chapter in its journey. This endeavour marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to supporting new musical theatre writing.

Running Time: 85 mins (no interval) | Suitable for ages 12+

Rosalind Ford, Eleanor Walsh
Listings information
13th March – 7th April
Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Village, N6 4BD
Tues – Sat, 7.30pm, Sat matinee 2.30pm, Sun matinee 4pm