Watford Palace Theatre has announced a 21st-century reimagining of Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play Gaslight, which gave rise to the modern term ‘gaslighting’ to describe psychological abuse.
Originally set in Victorian London, the play will now be transposed to a 21st-century safe house, where a group of women are fleeing domestic abuse.
Richard Beecham will direct the production, which tells the story of a husband who attempts to convince his wife that she is going mad.
After premiering at the Richmond Theatre in 1938, Gaslight transferred to the Apollo Theatre and the Savoy Theatre in the West End.
The play gave rise to the term ‘gaslighting’, which is a form of psychological abuse where one person attempts to manipulate another into questioning their own sanity.
Artistic director and chief executive of Watford Palace Theatre Brigid Larmour said: “Gaslight is a play of the moment. Issues of coercive control have become mainstream: the recent Archers storyline led to a national debate, alongside the ongoing impact of the #MeToo movement.
“The play itself has become part of this discussion: last year the idea of gaslighting, as a verb, was shortlisted by Collins Dictionary lexicographers for word of the year.”
Larmour added: “It felt to me like the right time for us to blow the cobwebs off this powerful and well established thriller. At Watford Palace Theatre we foreground women’s stories, and we are proud of our unusually broad audience demographic.”
Gaslight will run from October 2 to 26, with press night on October 7.
Set and costume design is by Naomi Dawson, lighting is by Anna Watson and sound is by Sarah Weltman.