A star cast led by Tilda Cobham-Hervey will bring to life the highly anticipated stage adaptation of Pip Williams' internationally bestselling novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words.
Cobham-Hervey (I Am Woman, Hotel Mumbai, Things I Know To Be True) plays Esme Nicoll, a young girl who takes it upon herself to preserve the 'women's words' being neglected by the male lexicographers creating the first Oxford Dictionary. Set in 1886 and based on true events, the sweeping historical tale takes audiences from Esme's formative years in the Scriptorium right into adulthood where she navigates love, loss and the power of language.
Joining her onstage will be Ksenja Logos (Gaslight) as Ditte and Mabel, Brett Archer (A View from the Bridge) as Harry Nicoll, Christopher Pitman (That Eye, The Sky) as Dr Murray, Rachel Burke (Macbeth) as Lizzie, Angela Mahlatjie (A Raisin in The Sun) as Tilda and Raj Labade (Tell Me I'm Here, The Office Australia) as Gareth.
Bringing the book to life is AACTA Award-winning set designer Jonathon Oxlade (Dance Nation, Beep and Mort), costume designer Ailsa Paterson (The Goat or, Who is Sylvia), lighting designer Trent Suidgeest (Muriel's Wedding the Musical, Prima Facie) and composer/sound designer Max Lyandvert (Macbeth, The Kettering Incident).
The Dictionary of Lost Words was an instant hit for Adelaide author Pip Williams in 2020, selling more than 500,000 copies worldwide and going on to become a New York Times bestseller. It was the first Australian work chosen for Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon's Book Club in 2022, has won multiple awards including the MUD Literary Prize, NSW Premier's Literary Award and the Australian Book Industry Award and is set to be adapted as a TV series.
Director Jessica Arthur says she is delighted to be working with such a talented team.
"Pip and Verity have set up such a vivid world for us to bring to the stage. Having worked with the creatives to realise how this story will be illustrated through set, sound, lighting and costume has already been an exciting process and to top it off we have such a brilliant cast breathing life into the characters. We cannot wait to share Esme Nicoll's imaginative world with audiences."
The Dictionary of Lost Words plays at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, from September 22-October 14.
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