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Sarah Slimani- interview

Emilia is almost certainly my all-time favourite play. Morgan Lloyd-Malcolm is a fantastic writer, and finds words for emotions otherwise indescribable, and telling the timelessly rich story of Emilia Bassano. Depicting her life as a female writer and trailblazer, ‘The Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s literature proves to be much more than just that.

After its West End run was tragically cut short, it becomes essential to see this piece simply wherever you can. Playing at Milton Court Theatre back in October, Guildhall School of Acting put on their production of the show, and helped further tell such an important narrative.

You can read my full review here:

Sarah Slimani becomes Emilia 2, acting as her during her middle years. Through trauma, she shows strength, and Sarah perfectly conveys the journey that young Emilia goes through at such a significant part of her life.

Despite a couple of technical difficulties leading to this interview going up late, it’s here, so read on to find out what Sarah had to say about this incredible show.


How would you describe the play, Emilia?

I would describe Emilia as a story of what it means to be othered, the ownership of art and largely a story of female autonomy (or lack thereof!) in the story of their own lives both when it’s actually happening and in how their stories are told after they’ve died.

What does it mean to you to have played Emilia? To me it was an incredible privilege because it’s the first time I got to play a character with the same heritage as me which was amazing. It was also so empowering to be in an all female cast of such an ensemble production where we were basically all on stage most of the time, it really felt like a special process.

What would you say to Emilia if she were still alive today? If Emilia was alive today I would probably ask to read her work and for her to tell me her own story the way she saw it!

I'd love to hear this too!

Is there a particular piece of the script that stands out to you?

For me the bit that stands out is the last speech where Emilia 3 speaks about anger. It’s such a misunderstood and weaponised emotion for women and I just always got goosebumps watching Frankie [Hart] deliver it.

What do you hope people have taken from seeing Emilia?

I hope people have listened to that last speech!

It truly is a magical script of theatre- goosebumps every time!

Are you able to discuss what you’re working on next?

Next our ensemble is working on Urinetown: The Musical which opens at the Milton Court Theatre and which promises to be so much fun!

Can't wait to see everything this show brings, when it's on in February.

And lastly, who inspires you, and why? My inspiration is probably my mum, an unashamed immigrant with a great sense of humour who really pushed me to pursue a career that would make me happy even if it was a risk.


What a beautiful way to end! Big thank you to Sarah for doing this interview and being part of a show that is so close to my heart. Best of luck with your next adventure- it is going to be great to see!

{Some grammar is amended for clarity}


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