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Age of Arousal

By: Linda Griffiths

Production image from Age of Arousal showing a woman in a corset and a large bow in her hair kneeling on a bed next to someone lying in the bed straddling

Age of Arousal

By: Linda Griffiths

Directed by: Muriel Romanes

Co-produced by: Stellar Quines and Royal Lyceum Theatre

1885 – a time of great passion, great confusion. Virtue is barely holding down its petticoats. Women are bursting their corsets with unbridled desire.

Determined to make women rich, ex-militant suffragette Mary Barfoot and her devoted protégé and lover Rhoda enlist female students to master the new invention that will gain them freedom – the typewriter. Three spinster sisters are invited into the school to rescue them from poverty, setting in motion an odyssey of alcoholism, cross-dressing and sexual revolution.

Enter Everard Barfoot, Mary’s cousin, an ex-doctor in his 30s about to embark on a life of leisure, and suddenly all the characters in this lavish sexy ensemble piece are erupting with discoveries, contradictions and epiphanies. Genre-busting, rule-bending and ambitiously original.

Age of Arousal is a powerful ensemble piece about the forbidden and gloriously liberated self, wildly inspired by The Odd Women, a Victorian novel by George Gissing. “[It is less] a historical play, more a fantasia – where everyone is on the brink of tumultuous change, sexual and lubricious, explosive and contradictory” (Linda Griffiths).

"gloriously bold and inventive production... the performances from Romanes' six-strong company, are simply immaculate"

by The Scotsman

"Linda Griffiths doesn't so much adapt George Gissing's The Odd Women as explode it... funny, dynamic and politically fascinating"

by The Guardian

"Enjoy one of the country's best playwrights at the top of her game"

by The Toronto Star

"rich dialogue... internal asides that throb with locked up passion... "

by The Herald


  • Hannah Donaldson


  • Molly Innes


  • Jamie Lee


  • Alexandra Mathie


  • Clare Lawrence Moody


  • Ann Louise Ross


Creative Team

  • Linda Griffiths


  • Muriel Romanes


  • Lauren Graham

    Assistant Director

  • Janet Bird


  • Jeanine Davies

    Lighting Designer

  • Philip Pinsky

    Sound Designer/Composer

  • Janice Parker


  • Marianne Forde

    Stage Management

  • Claire Williamson

    Stage Management

  • Ross McFarlane


About The Show

Age of Arousal was performed as a public reading as part of Rehearsal Room 14 in 2008, which was directed by its Canadian writer, Linda Griffiths.

To mark the centenary of International Women’s Day the Lyceum held a series of events in conjunction with the production of Age of Arousal. These included workshops and a rehearsed reading of Ajay Close’s play Cat and Mouse, which dealt with the Scottish suffragettes jailed in Perth and the prison doctor who force-fed them.

With thanks to Meg O’Brien, Ajay Close, Dr Elaine McAdam (Medical Advisor), Megan Baker and the students from Edinburgh College of Art.

Tour History