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Pygmalion (1976)


A play by George Bernard Shaw, performed at the Nottingham Playhouse (12 February - 30 March 1976).


Cockney flower-seller Eliza Doolittle is taught by a phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, to assume the accent of a member of the aristocracy.  Can she disguise her poor background and fool others into believing she belongs to the social elite? 

Through Eliza's transformation, Pygmalion explores class division and what it means to be considered a lady.


Henry Higgins ... William Russell
Eliza Doolittle ... ZoŽ Wanamaker
Alfred Doolittle, Eliza`s father ... Malcolm Storry
Colonel Pickering ... Ralph Michael
Mrs Smith, Higgins`s housekeeper ... Ursula Smith

Cast also included: Julie Peasgood and David Beames


Director: Richard Eyre
Set Designer: Douglas Heap
Costume Designer: David Collis
Lighting Designer: Geoffrey Mersereau
Production Photographer: Gerald Murray


This production of Pygmalion was presented by the Nottingham Playhouse Company.  ZoŽ was invited to join the company by Richard Eyre, when he became artistic director of its theatre.  They had previously enjoyed working together in Edinburgh (on plays such as The Cherry Orchard).  She speaks warmly of the 'Intelligent, funny, sensitive, encouraging and enthusiastic' director (see 'Zoe Wanamaker: Nottingham Playhouse Made Me' interview). 

The 1975-6 season at Nottingham was a formative period in her career; Zoe has praised the 'fantastic range of plays' in which she was given the opportunity to perform, during her nine months as a member of the company (see 'Zoe Wanamaker: Nottingham Playhouse Made Me' interview).  In addition to Pygmalion, she appeared in The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, The Beggar's Opera, Jug, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Servant of Two Masters, and Trumpets & Drums.

Press coverage

'The excitements of Richard Eyre's production largely spring - I may say, leap - from the Eliza of Zoe Wanamaker', enthused Charles Lewsen, writing for The Times.


Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Related links

Large Pygmalion production photo - The University of Nottingham (photo shows, from left to right: William Russell as Henry Higgins, Zoe Wanamaker as Eliza Doolittle, and Ralph Michael as Colonel Pickering)

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