Type, damn you. Type. It’s the only to way to liberty!

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).

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.


‘Linda Griffiths has written a deftly poetic and profoundly witty play... enjoy one of the country's best playwrights at the top of her game’ (The Toronto Star)
‘A roaring success... tremendous fun... avalanches of witty dialogue and even wittier private asides... In Muriel Romanes' gloriously bold and inventive production... the performances from Romanes' six-strong company, are simply immaculate’ (The Scotsman)
'Linda Griffiths doesn't so much adapt George Gissing's The Odd Women as explode it... funny, dynamic and politically fascinating... First-rate performances... funny and fervent’ (The Guardian)
‘Muriel Romanes’ production... wears its sensuality on its sleeve... rich dialogue... internal asides that throb with locked up passion... glorious archness’ (The Herald)

Production Tour Dates

  • 18 February – 12 March, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
  • 15 – 26 March, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
  • 29 March, Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre, Peebles
  • 30 March, The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
  • 31 March, Woodend Barn, Banchory
  • 1-2 April, OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness
  • 12 April, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
  • 14 – 16 April, Dundee Rep Theatre

Age of Arousal (2011)

Age of Arousal was UK premiere and a co-production with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

Creative Team

  • Writer: Linda Griffiths
  • Director: Muriel Romanes
  • Assistant Director: Lauren Graham
  • Designer : Janet Bird
  • Lighting Designer : Jeanine Davies
  • Sound Designer/Composer : Philip Pinsky
  • Choreographer: Janice Parker
  • Stage Management : Marianne Forde, Claire Williamson
  • Technician : Ross McFarlane


  • Hannah Donaldson
  • Molly Innes
  • Jamie Lee
  • Alexandra Mathie
  • Clare Lawrence Moody
  • Ann Louise Ross


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Images © Marc Marnie