Saturday, 19 June 2021

Charity shop dress becomes cloak for play of passion

THE cloak that will be worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a new play airing at St Mary’s Church next Friday came from a charity shop round the corner, writes Bill Bowder.

The blue shot silk cloak, which started as a £20 ballgown from the Helen and Douglas House charity shop in Duke Street, has spent the last three weeks on a London tour of Caroline Bowder’s new work, Conversations with Mary, about a young Irish girl who is pregnant.

The cloak graced the stage for three days at Brick Lane’s Rag Factory Theatre, four days in St Silas Church in Islington and six days in the Etcetera Theatre, Camden High Street.

Anna Liese Taylor, who raises funds for Helen and Douglas House, said: “It’s fabulous that one of our dresses is playing a starring role in a London production and is coming to Henley.” Three days before the play’s debut on April 4, Caroline carefully dissected the dress, removed the bodice and took out the net petticoat lining.

After five hours of sewing and pressing she had a cloak for the Virgin Mary, played by the London-based actress Aurora Adams.

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