Forever remembered as the author of ‘The Railway Children’ and a host of other children’s books, Edith Nesbit was testimony to the maxim that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Prolific novelist and poet, and co-founder of the Fabian Society with her husband Hubert Bland, Edith Nesbit was to the world at large a figure of conventional if progressive tastes. The people in Edith’s life read like a who’s who of Victorian and Edwardian society. Eleanor Marx, Annie Besant, Emmeline Pankhurst, H. G. Wells, Sydney and Beatrice Webb, H. G. Wells, Annie Besant, and Noel Coward were just a few of the notable personalities she numbered among her friends.
In the relative privacy of her home she was the Bohemian duchess, obsessive searcher of occult mysteries, chain-smoking mother to five children, two of whom were actually those of her philandering husband’s mistress, Alice Hoatson, who came to live with them. Edith herself was lover of George Bernard Shaw – and later an ever-younger string of adoring young men.
This mesmerising contrast between the public figure – author of lyrical poetry and children’s stories – and the private, often outlandish individual, makes the story of Edith Nesbit fascinating drama.
The Railway Children Lady is written by Derek Webb whose play about Dusty Springfield Call Me Dusty played to packed houses across South Wales in 2013. Edith is brought vividly to the stage by Pembrokeshire-based actress Eloise Williams who has dozens of TV and stage appearances to her credit, including playing Dylan Thomas’ wife Caitlin, Natasha in ‘Three Sisters’ and Gertrude in ‘Hamlet’.
The play opens on September 26 and tours to ten venues throughout south and west Wales. Click here for the tour details