The Dissociation of Shirley Mason A question of identity

The Dissociation of Shirley Mason

Weston Studio, Bristol Old Vic

Key Information
  • Dates Thu 28 Feb 2019 - Sat 16 Mar 2019
  • Location Weston Studio, Bristol Old Vic
  • Evenings

    8.00 PM on Thur 28 February, Fri 1, Sat 2, Fri 8 and Thur 14 March.

  • Matinees

    3.00 PM on Thur 28, Thur 7  and Sat 9 March.

    2.00 PM on Sat 16 March.

  • Ticket price

    £15 / £13 / £11

Part of a season of new plays that have been developed by Bristol Old Vic.

By Isabella Culver
Directed by Peter Leslie Wild

Shirley Mason is a young woman of uncertain identity – buffeted by the expectations of family and church in the American town of her childhood.

Later, as an art student in New York she feels her personality disintegrating, and a psychiatrist takes a keen interest. Dr Cornelia B Wilbur may have stumbled upon a landmark case to make her reputation.

As the two women’s lives become entwined, lines blur between psychiatry and art, case studies and tall stories, real hurt and false memory.

Inspired by the real-life case of a woman diagnosed as having 16 personalities. This premiere production is an American tale spanning the decades up to the 1970s, with questions for us all about where our true selves reside.

Duration: 2 hr including interval
Recommended age: 14+
Trigger warnings: discussion of psychological distress
Strong language: very occasional


Image Credit: Hide the Shark

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Trailer for Shirley Mason


Our Production Arts students have produced a podcast featuring interviews with the cast, director and crew on The Dissociation of Shirley Mason, giving an insight into the creative process behind the show.

Creative and Technical Team

Writer Isabella Culver

Director Peter Leslie Wild

Assistant Director Kyle Pryke

Set Designer Robin Davis

Costume Designer Oscar Selfridge

Lighting Designer Chris Horseman

Sound Designer Frank Bradley

Movement Director Michelle Gaskell

Voice Coach Carol Fairlamb

Dialect Coach James Gitsham

Production Manager Jon Sherwood

Stage Manager Antonia Howlett

Deputy Stage Manager Raisa Daya

Assistant Stage Managers Felicity Simmons and Ella Jackson

Production Electrician Beth Hudson

Lighting Operator Caitlin Shay

Sound Operator Eve Kershaw

Construction Manager Andy Scrivens

Construction Assistants Hebe Perry, Joel Williams, Maya Barker, Oliver Wareham, Ella Jackson, Felicity Simmons, Danny Davies and Ambra Fuller

Props Maker Meriel Pym

Scenic Art Supervisor Radhika Parekh

Scenic Artists Emma Inge and
Julie O’Connor

Costume Supervisor Janie Powell

Costume Makers Lotte Marsh and Tamara Pearce-Higgins

Costume Assistants Becky Davies, Rhianne Good, Katie Ireland

Production Photos Craig Fuller

Special thanks to: Stationery World, Angie Moss, Bristol Old Vic and Bratts Ladders

About the Director

Peter Leslie Wild is an award-winning director and producer working in Theatre, TV and Audio Drama.

Credits include:

Theatre: The Wind in the Willows (New Vic); The Chester Mystery Plays 2013 and 2018 (Chester Cathedral); Dial M for Murder (New Vic); The Wizard of Oz (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School); Seeing The Lights (New Vic); Alice (Theatre in the Quarter, Chester); Inherit the Wind; A Fine Bright Day Today (New Vic); Passion – Line of Departure (Tour); Mary Shelley; The Wicked Lady (Birmingham University); Writes of Spring (Cheltenham Everyman); Dealing With Dreams (Birmingham Rep/Walsall New Art Gallery); The Worcester Pilgrim (artworcs at Worcester Cathedral); Upside Down and Back to Front (artworcs at Number 8, Pershore); Choral History (Singworks); The Return of the Prodigal; Someone Waiting; How He Lied to Her Husband; The Gate; Black Snow; Romeo and Juliet; Julius Caesar; The Bell; The Magic Island; The Children’s Mysteries (all Orange Tree
Theatre); The Monkey Puzzle (Lyric Studio); The Real Long John Silver (BAC).

Radio: many plays and dramatisations for BBC Radio including five series of Falco; Wuthering Heights; Watership Down; Wives and Daughters (dramatised by Theresa Heskins); White Open Spaces (in collaboration with Pentabus Theatre); more than 20 drama documentaries in collaboration with Rosie Boulton and Sara Conkey; plays by writers including David Edgar, Steve Waters, Stephen Poliakoff, Helen Cross, Arnold Wesker, Sephanie Dale, Peter Shaffer, Glyn Hughes, Lucy Gough, Colin Shindler, Glyn Hughes, Jose Rivera and Simon Stephens.

Peter is also a regular guest director of Radio 4’s long-running serial The Archers. He has twice won the prestigious Prix Marulic for his radio work.

Online: Lending an Ear (an audio map of Worcestershire created with 21 artists working in
collaboration with community groups and libraries ); That’s Your Story (short plays by Ian Billings created with schoolchildren ; Sea Me (Dorchester Community Audio Play by Stephanie Dale).

Television: Producer, Doctors Series 17, 18 and 19 (BBC One); five short films for the Arts Council Digital Media programme. Peter teaches regularly at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and at Birmingham, Aberystwyth, Lincoln and de Montfort Universities.

Rehearsal Images by New Plays In Rep Team

Production Photography by Craig Fuller

Students relaxing outside of the School
The School is in a beautiful part of Bristol, overlooking a huge park called the Downs. We sometimes take advantage of our close proximity to the Downs during the summer term, practising fight and dance routines, or voice or singing classes! Dan Hall, BA Professional Acting student