GITHA Sowerby’s The Stepmother is to be performed for the first time in the north by the York Settlement Community Players in the wake of the revived interest in the Gateshead playwright, children’s author and Fabian Society member.

Operating under the nom de plume of K G Sowerby to mask her feminine status, she is now regarded as the female equivalent of Ibsen, Chekhov and Dickens of her time.

In 2013, two Githa Sowerby plays toured Britain to acclaim: Northern Broadsides’ poignant revival of Rutherford & Son and the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond professional premiere of her 1924 work, The Stepmother.

At the same time, York writer and actress Hannah Davies and The Flanagan Collective produced Githa, Davies’s one-woman show based on the playwright’s life and her struggle to become an established writer in a predominantly male world. Alongside Rutherford & Son, it played York Theatre Royal last May.

The Settlement Players’ production will run in the Theatre Royal Studio from March 5 to 15 at 7.45pm plus 2pm on the last day. Immediately after the March 11 performance, a post-show talk will take place with the actors, director and Githa Sowerby’s official biographer, Pat Riley, in attendance.

The Stepmother is to be directed by St Peter’s School drama teacher Maggie Smales, who has experience directing classical and contemporary dramas. Maggie and the Settlement Players have the full support and participation of Pat Riley, who is delighted to learn that the play is to receive its North of England premiere.

“The Stepmother was written by Githa Sowerby in 1924,” says Pat. “At this time, even after decades of protest, only a very small proportion of women in this country – those who were property owners aged 30 or over – had the vote, and the finances of many women were still routinely controlled by male relatives.

“In this Settlement production, I will play the role of an elderly maiden lady in just this situation. As someone who has been acting in the amateur theatre since her twenties, as well as having published Githa’s biography in 2009 with Arts Council funding, it’s a dream come true for me to be able to act in this fine play, and I thank Settlement for giving me this opportunity.”

The Stepmother follows the story of Lois Relph, an orphaned young woman, who inherits a large sum of money and subsequently marries Eustace Gaydon, whose sole purpose is to get his hands on her newly acquired wealth. Having made Lois his wife and the stepmother to his two young daughters, to what lengths will Eustace go to gain her money?

York actress Claire Morley will play Lois, a modern woman juggling the demands of being a stepmother, running a business and overcoming the social prejudices of her day, while James Martin will be the charismatic but manipulative Eustace. Other performers will include Catherine Edge, Anna Soden, Lucy Simpson, James Witchwood, Sam Osman, Simon Arm-Riding and Rosy Rowley.

• Tickets can be booked on 01904 623568 or at