A new play delving into a little known fact: Charles Dickens founded a home for 'fallen' women.

Charles Dickens was more familiar with humanity's taste for idle gossip and scandal than most. Nevertheless, he may have been surprised to discover the amount of his private life that's been publicly aired in the 21st century — a carefully concealed extramarital affair, for instance. This new play by Sport for Jove touches on another little-known aspect of Dickens' days — his founding of a home for 'fallen' women — and its residents.

In the 1840s a handful of women with pasts they're told they'd rather forget, spend their remaining weeks in London practicing the Victorian arts of being 'ladylike' — needlepoint, cooking and cleaning. They are bound for Australia, destined, so they are told, for a fresh start. But as the departure date nears, they begin to wonder if the opportunity is quite what it seems.

Fallen's London may be devoid of Dickens' iconic characters, but it also foregoes the simple morality of many of his tales. Instead, it offers a look at the way 19th century society brought shame on women who were driven to, or chose to take unconventional paths.

Image: Sarah Walker.

Published on April 03, 2017 by Matt Abotomey

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