Emilia Bassano: From dark lady to shining star

The story of a groundbreaking Elizabethan poet is reclaimed and celebrated in this new stage production. But what’s Emilia’s connection with Shakespeare?
Three dark-skinned women stare at the camera. Each is similarly dressed in white.

‘It’s hard not to be inspired by a person, particularly a woman, who just didn’t take no for an answer,’ says actor/producer Amanda LaBonté.

The co-founder (with Sophie Lampel) of indie company Essential Theatre, LaBonté will soon appear in Essential’s production of Emilia, an award-winning play exploring the remarkable life of proto-feminist Elizabethan poet Emilia Bassano.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts